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Home Town: Okolona, Mississippi
Population: 3267

Close up with Ben Hall

For some it may seem that Ben Hall has simply burst upon the guitar music scene. However, like many other "over night" successes Ben has been steadily gaining in musical performance recognition over the last several years.

Ben got started with a couple of lessons on the mandolin when he was only six years old. Why the mandolin? According to his Mom, his hand was too small to reach around the neck of a guitar. But, I guess that hand grew along with Benís desire to play. By age nine he could handle mandolin and guitar as well as vocals and he opened for Ricky Skaggs at a benefit for St Judeís Hospital which was held in Tupelo, MS. Since then he has opened shows for Grand Ole Opry stars Jim Ed Brown, Jack Greene and Jan Howard.

It was also at age nine that Ben came to the attention of local TV personality, Kay Bain. Since then he has been a frequent guest on her show, Morniní, which is broadcast from WTVA in Tupelo. He continues to work with Ms. Bain in her personal appearances, sometimes when she is working solo and sometimes appearing with the Morniní Show Band.

The diversity of Benís talent is reflected in some of the competitions he has won. In 2001, at age 12, he was the winner of the instrumentalist competition in the International Teen Talent Contest sponsored by the Church of God of Prophecy. Held in Louisville, KY contestants came from across the US and the Bahamas to compete.

It was a vocal performance that put Ben in first place in a Mississippi Farm Bureau Talent Contest where he competed with young people from all across the state.

At age 13, Ben entered the 2002 National Thumbpicking Contest in Mountain View, AR. He placed 2nd! He has competed each year since and each year has placed 2nd. The competitors in this event include both young artists as well as adult artists, some of whom are professional musicians. It was in Mountain View that Ben first met the River Rat Band, a musical comedy group that includes lead guitarist Comer "Moon" Mullins. Ben often appears as a guest with the trio.

Ben plays guitar with a very confident and strong bass line. When asked who his influences were he replied, "all the usual". Then he named Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, Thom Bresh and Eddie Pennington. But Ben acknowledges that Moon Mullins probably influenced him the most.

As many other fine artists have been before him, Ben is a self taught guitarist.

He had the advantage of having a Mom who could play with him at the beginning, but she gave it up when he reached a certain level of play. His interest in music is not limited to the guitar. Ben now also plays bass guitar, banjo, mandolin, piano, accordion, and a few others instruments as well.

Ben lives with his parents and his sister in Okolona, MS where he attends the Church of God of Prophecy and regularly plays guitar and/or piano for congregational singing. He attends Oak Hill Academy in West Point where he is an honor student and plays saxophone in the Raider Marching Band.

 

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All text and images (C) Copyright Ben Hall 2004 - 2006