Hal Ketchum, Opry member and 'Small Town Saturday Night' singer, dies at 67
Hal Ketchum, a 1990s country hit maker and member of Nashville's famous Grand Ole Opry, passed away this week at the age of 67.
Ketchum died of dementia complications on Tuesday morning, according to a post on his verified Facebook page. Ketchum's wife previously detailed his diagnosis in an April 2019 social media post.
"It is with great sadness that we announce that Hal died peacefully at home last night from the effects of dementia," said a Facebook post signed by his wife Andrea on Tuesday. "May his music live on forever in your hearts and bring you peace."
Raised in Greenwich, New York, Ketchum moved to Austin, Texas in 1981, where he eventually began writing songs and performing in local clubs under his full name, Hal Michael Ketchum.
MARCH 3 HAL KETCHUM: 8 p.m. Franklin Theater, $ 35- $ 45, franklintheatre.com, SOLD OUT
Independent success in Texas brought Ketchum to Nashville, where he signed with Curb Records and released his 1991 album, Past the Point of Rescue. On that record, Ketchum sang "Small Town Saturday Night," a # 2 hit on Billboard's country charts that remains an early '90s staple that is adopted by listeners to this day.
The album earned Ketchum a gold certification, which was underlined by the top 15 songs "I Know Where Love Lives" and "Past The Point Of Rescue", which also reached number 2 on the Billboard Country Singles chart.
Its 1992 follow-up "Sure Love" delivered a trio of top 10 songs: "Sure Love", "Hearts Are Gonna Roll" and "Mama Knows The Highway". He continued to play songs in the mid-1990s, including "(Tonight We Just Might) Verliebe dich wieder" and "Stay Forever".
Ketchum joined the Grand Ole Opry on January 22, 1994 on the show's website.
The singer-songwriter embarked on a public health battle in 1998 when he was diagnosed with acute transverse myelitis, a type of spinal infection that caused temporary paralysis. The diagnosis forced him to learn to walk and play the guitar again.
Ketchum would continue to release music on Curb until he announced his resignation in 2008 and returned to Texas.
However, retirement would not last. Ketchum released "I'm The Troubadour" in 2014, his last album. He would perform live until 2018 when Ketchum retired from the streets due to dementia.
Aside from music, Ketchum appeared in the film "Heartbreak Hotel" in 1988 and in "Maverick" in 1994. In 2006 he played Mother Ginger in the Nashville Ballet's "Nutcracker" production.
He enjoys painting, carpentry and writing short stories, according to Opry.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Hal Ketchum Dies aged 67: 1990 country singer and opry member
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