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Rest in peace Country music star Hal Ketchum has died aged 67 following dementia struggle


Hal Ketchum at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee , March 3, 1994.

Hal Ketchum at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee , March 3, 1994.

Hal Ketchum at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee , March 3, 1994.

AMERICAN country music star Hal Ketchum died yesterday evening due to complications from dementia, his wife Andrea confirmed today.

The much-loved singer had a string of hits, but credited Past The Point of Rescue, written by Irish songwriter and performer Mick Hanly, as the song that launched his career.

In 1991, then up-and-coming singer Ketchum made it the title track for his first album with Curb Records. When he released it as a single it went to number two in the Billboard Country charts and became the most played country song in 1992.

“Past The Point of Rescue is my career song….I bless the day that Mick wrote it” Hal Ketchum said in the years that followed.

Originally from Greenwich, New York where he was born on April 9th, 1953, Hal Ketchum moved first to Austin in 1981 where he began playing small clubs and recorded his first album for the small label Watermelon Records.

He later moved to Nashville to pursue a country career further, and became a successful performer throughout the early 90’s, starting his career off with one of his signature songs, Small Town, Saturday Night in 1991.

Ketchum’s debut album on Curb Records, Past The Point of Rescue, was certified Gold, and along with his second record, 1992’s Sure Love, Ketchum charted three number two singles, and seven Top 10 hits.

Hal’s music was a little more songwriter-based at the time, making him less Garth Brooks and more Steve Earle.

He had another hit with Stay Forever off of his 1994 record, Every Little Word.

It was also in 1994 when Hal Ketchum became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Four years later, a diagnosis of acute transverse myelitis—a very similar ailment to multiple sclerosis—sidelined the singer and songwriter, causing him to lose use of the entire left side of his body.

Hal had to relearn basic tasks, including how to sing and play the guitar again, and recovered enough to continue to record for Curb until 2008 when he retired to a cabin in Wimberley, TX, near Austin.

Ketchum also had a passion for painting, and his work was featured in Santa Fe, NM’s Pena Gallery. He was also a skilled carpenter and enjoyed making toys.

But then in 2014 at the age of 61, Hal Ketchum emerged as a performing musician once again and began working with Austin, TX-based label Music Road Records, releasing his first album in six years called I’m The Troubadour, and began to play shows more frequently, including at Grene Hall and other venues throughout Central Texas.

When fans began to notice his tour schedule beginning to slow down, his wife announced the dementia diagnosis in April of 2019.

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“Dementia is an exhausting and confusing illness and now it’s time for Hal to stay home with loved ones,” Andrea said.

He passed away yesterday evening (Nov 23) according to his wife. Andrea.

She posted: “With great sadness and grief we announce that Hal passed away peacefully last night at home due to complications of Dementia. May his music live on forever in your hearts and bring you peace.”

Hal Ketchum was 67 years old.

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