Chuck Hall has been on the Phoenix music scene for decades. The blues man first gained local notoriety as guitarist for Texas Red and the Heartbreakers before moving on to form Chuck Hall & the Brick Wall, and he’s now performing with the Chuck Hall Band.
The band has just released a new album on the locally-based Fervor Records imprint and Hall says that Hillbilly Wild was in part inspired by television program "Justified," on which multiple Hall songs have appeared in the past. The album is split about evenly between vocal numbers like the Fabulous Thunderbirds-recalling “Darlin’” and the funky/spooky “Voodoo Daddy” (with local legend Hans Olson guesting) and instrumentals like the chicken-pickin’ delight “Super Chicken” and the playful “Pint Sized Cowboy,”
Hillbilly Wild is sure to please fans from all eras of Hall’s career as well as extend his run with placement of music on TV. Chuck answered a few questions about Hillbilly Wild and what else he has going on by email and exclusively for AXS.com.
You’ve been on the scene in Arizona a long time. How is the scene different now from the Chuck Hall & the Brick Wall days?
In general there doesn't seem to be as much interest in local, live music as there was in the heyday of the Brick Wall. I don't know if that's just in Phoenix or everywhere but it's a lot of work to book bands around here these days. CHBW was a blues-based band, and when we were hot blues was on mainstream radio and MTV and I think it fueled people's interest in seeing the live, local versions. Blues has gone back underground and the number of venues and the size of the crowds have shrunk drastically. I think the aforementioned is the biggest single reason for this current and hopefully temporary lull in the local scene. Another huge factor is the onset of stiff DUI laws and penalties. I say this because a majority of our shows were done in bars and nightclubs and people now are afraid to partake as they used to which, of course, leads to a drop in business and revenue. At that point the cost of hiring bands becomes prohibitive and club owners have to find other ways to attract business.
What typically are your duties as a Fender Guitars clinician?
My main duty as a Fender clinician is to demo the products. To that end I do product videos, performances at trade shows, product clinics in dealers around the country, and special events as a performer with Fender gear. A number of my demos are on YouTube as well as this video created as an advertisement. My favorite!
How did the placement of your music on “Justified” come about?
My music has been placed on “Justified” by the guys at Fervor Records. Dave and Jeff (Fervor honchos Hilker and Freundlich) approached me in 2013 to see if I had any interest in having my music placed in TV and film. I said “hell yeah” and we struck a deal. They were interested in my entire catalog of 30-years’ worth of recordings as well as creating a new release; that is where Hillbilly Wild originated. Within a few months of signing the deal they were successful getting the music placed on “Justified” and we ended up on six shows in season five! These guys are motivated! Those six tunes were from my previous catalog and we are looking forward to enjoying similar success with Hillbilly Wild.
Regarding the Freddie King tribute “King Freddie” from Hillbilly Wild, did you ever get to see Freddie perform?
I saw Freddie live once in a small theater in Dallas, probably 1971. That was a treat for me because I was and still am a huge Freddie King fan! Two things from that show stand out after 40+ years; he absolutely and completely filled the room with his presence and sound. It was astonishing and impacts me to this day. I also got to meet him! He was being pulled in 10 different directions and still took a moment to say hi and shake my hand. A true gentleman.
To listen to music from Hillbilly Wild, go here.