Dixie Hall became one of the most notable bluegrass songwriters of all time, which is how she was able to meet her husband, Country Music Hall of Fame member Tom T. Hall. The Nashville songwriters enjoyed 46 happy years of marriage before Dixie passed away in 2015.
Dixie wrote the Dave Dudley hit song, "Truck Drivin' Son-of-a-Gun," and Tom wrote "I Got Lost," on the flip side of the record. The couple met at the BMI Country Awards in Nashville for their songs in 1965.
"It was the usual steak and potato thing, and Tom Hall, as he was known then, was seated across the table, so we had to speak," Dixie told Bluegrass Unlimited. "He said, 'Do you like potatoes?' And I said, 'Yes, why?' And he said, 'Is that why you're so fat?' And I was positively skinny."
Though Dixie's friend and date at the event, Maybelle Carter, wasn't impressed with Tom's opening line, Dixie thought it was cute.
"I ran into him later during the Disc Jockey Convention, and he invited me to go fishing, and I jumped at the chance. I thought he was O.K."
The couple was married in 1968 and Dixie took some time off from songwriting to focus on her charity work with the Nashville Humane Society as well as competing in dog shows with her Bassett Hounds. Meanwhile, Tom's career continued to boom with Mercury Records. He became known as "The Storyteller." He wrote hit country songs for multiple incredible artists including Johnny Cash, George Jones, Jeannie C. Riley (with pop crossover hit "Harper Valley PTA"), Jimmy C. Newman, Alan Jackson and Bobby Bare.
Tom even had his own personal career as a country singer with 12 number one hits on the Billboard country charts. Some of his greatest hits include "A Week in a Country Jail", "(Old Dogs, Children and) Watermelon Wine", "I Love," "Country Is," "I Like Beer," "The Year That Clayton Delaney Died," and "Faster Horses (the Cowboy and the Poet)."
By the '90s, Tom was tired and ready to retire. But his wife wasn't ready for him to give up on music.
"I said it was ok to quit the road, but don't give up on music," Dixie said. "Music is too much of a treasure to throw it away."
She started writing music for Nancy Moore ("Your Memory Followed Me Home" and "High Lonesome Love") and eventually Tom couldn't take it and just had to join in.
"She's one of the most driven women I've ever met," Tom told The Tennessean. "She would not take 'no' for an answer. She'd call people three times a day, tell them, 'We've got a song for you.' If they didn't want that one, she'd call them back with another."
The couple worked well together professionally as well. Tom, originally from Olive Hill, Kentucky, explained that their different upbringings gave them an interesting perspective in their songwriting. His wife was actually from England before she immigrated to the United States in 1961.
"I was born in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains," Mr. Hall told The New York Times, "and spent my whole life trying to get out of there. Maybe our bluegrass songwriting works so well because we have such different views of Appalachia. As an outsider Miss Dixie sees these people as the hard-working, family-loving salt of the earth. As a member of the clan I see them as just the neighbors. She can see the trees, while all I can see is the forest."
Throughout her career, Dixie had over 500 bluegrass and country songs recorded, more than any other female songwriter. Together, the couple won the Bluegrass Song Writer of the Year award from the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America twelve times. Tom won a Grammy Award for Best Album Notes in 1973 for Tom T. Hall's Greatest Hits.
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