Country Chatter

Hal Ketchum dead at 67 due to complications of dementia

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Hal Ketchum, who rose to fame during the 90’s, passed away on Monday night at the age of 67, due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

“With great sadness and grief we announce that Hal passed away peacefully last night at home due to complications of dementia,” Ketchum’s wife, Andrea, confirmed in a post on his Facebook page and website.

“May his music live on forever in your hearts and bring you peace.”

The singer was born in Greenwich, NY and moved to Texas in 1981. In the Lone Star state, Ketchum was attracted to the dance halls and started singing and writing songs.

“I’ve known Hal Ketchum since 1985, when I first booked him at Gruene Hall,” Ketchum’s longtime friend and personal manager Tracie Ferguson told CNN. “He played his first official gig in the front room of the old Hall for about 25 people. He only had to sing one note for everyone to realize that he had something special and it didn’t take long for the country music world to notice him.”

In 1986, Ketchum recorded 11 of his self-penned songs under his full name Hal Michael Ketchum. This album, Threadbare Alibis, was released in 1988 on the Watermelon Records label.

He moved to Nashville after that release and signed a contract with Curb Records. In 1991, Ketchum released his debut album Past the Point of Rescue and placed four of the singles on the Country Charts. “Small Town Saturday Night” was first, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. After it came Ketchum’s own composition “I Know Where Love Lives”, which charted at number thirteen. Also peaking at number two was the title track and the last single from the album was a rendition of The Vogues’ “Five O’Clock World”, which he took into top 20 of Hot Country Songs in 1992.

Ketchum was inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1994.

“One thing that stood out about Hal was his continued love for his fans, and he gave as much of himself to them as possible,” Ferguson said. “His kindness and sweet spirit will be remembered by everyone who knew or met him.”

Photo courtesy of Ann McClendon

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