Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll celebrate a pioneering woman in country music.
You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.
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Helen Hall was born on Oct. 20, 1927, in Navarro County, Texas. She began playing guitar and fronting a band with her husband, a bass player, shortly after the two married in 1944. In 1954, Hall and her band began performing regularly on the Big D Jamboree, where she appeared on the bill with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and other now-legendary artists. Helen Hall was one of the few women to perform regularly on the show. She also was one of the few singers to write many of her own songs, some of which addressed the challenges women faced in the world of honky-tonk music.
Helen Hall retired from the stage as the Big D Jamboree wound down in the 1960s. However, she was an inspiration to a number of other female country artists, many of whom have performed and recorded her songs.
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet a man who whistled while he worked.