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Rooted in Country: D.L. Rossi on Tom T. Hall's 'That's How I Got to Memphis'

Rachel Hurley

Singer-songwriter D.L. Rossi  came to country music later in life, but he received a crash course in the genre and its standards steeped in heartbreak and yearning shortly after moving to Music City. Rossi says he still remembers the night he was introduced to Tom T. Hall's "That's How I Got to Memphis," which first appeared on the country legend's 1969 album Ballad of Forty Dollars & His Other Great Songs.

"Growing up in a strict Evangelical home and being homeschooled, I didn't listen to a lot of music that didn't fall under the umbrella of Christian Contemporary Music (Amy Grant, Michael Card, Jars of Clay) as a kid. As I got older, more and more secular music began creeping into my listening habits, but I didn't really get schooled on country music until I moved to Nashville 4 years ago," Rossi tells Wide Open Country. "My first job in Music City was as a guitar tech. I would stay up late after shows with our bus driver and he would show me old country and Americana songs by artists that I now understand are staples in the genre. I remember specifically the night he introduced me to Tom T. Hall and the song 'That's How I Got to Memphis.'"

Though the song was later recorded by Bobby Bare, Rossi says it's Hall's rendition -- and lyricism -- that continue to inspire him as an artist.
"I was immediately hooked on Hall's version of the song.  The simplicity and the emotion was so magnetic and I became obsessed with studying the song and trying to accomplish that same mark in my own songwriting. Hall paints this wonderful picture of longing and loss and how far we will go for someone we love. 'That's How I Got to Memphis' is on every road trip playlist I make."

Read More: Rooted in Country: Annie Keating on the Moving Vulnerability of John Prine's 'I Remember Everything'

Earlier this year, Rossi released his album Lonesome Kind, the follow-up to his 2019 album A Sweet Thing.

For more information on D.L. Rossi, visit his official website.

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Rooted in Country: D.L. Rossi on Tom T. Hall's 'That's How I Got to Memphis'