*adapted from Country Now
Alex Hall is ready to share his music with the world with the release of his debut EP, Six Strings.
The six-song project is a unique concept EP, centered around Hall’s guitar playing and songwriting. Each track includes featured guitarists and vocalists, including Vince Gill, Brad Paisley, John Osborne, Brad Tursi of Old Dominion, Tenille Townes and Kassi Ashton.
Country Now recently caught up with Alex Hall to chat about the project and what it was like working with his guitar-playing peers. Check out our exclusive Q&A below.
How does it feel to release your debut EP?
It’s the best feeling. Being able to put out my debut EP in general is amazing, but being able to include some friends and heroes of mine is such a special thing. I’m excited for the world to hear it.
Can you explain how you first got the idea to release a concept EP?
The idea all started a few weeks after every shutdown. My label, my manager, and I had a meeting about making a guitar-focused project to showcase my guitar playing as an artist. After a few brainstorming sessions, we came up with the idea for Six Strings. Six songs, six features, all centered around my favorite six-string instrument, the guitar.
Which guest artist did you ask to join you first?
I believe the first artist we asked was Tenille Townes. She’s an incredible artist/musician and a dear friend of mine. “Heart Shut” was the first song we wrote together a few years back, and we had the chance to play it at her EP release party at the legendary Bluebird Cafe at the beginning of 2020. We knew the song was really special, and I thought it was the perfect way to show a different side of me on my EP, as well as show how talented Tenille is not only as a singer, but as an acoustic guitar player.
Of all of the guests featured on the project, who were you most nervous to work with and why?
Honestly, I was nervous to work with all of them, but if I had to pick, I would say Vince Gill. Vince is such a legend in and out of country music. I mean, he is an honorary Eagle [laughs]. I grew up singing along to his songs on the radio, and so to have him sing harmonies and play guitar along with me on my record is an honor I will never forget.
Was there anything that surprised you about working with the featured artists? Or did any of them teach you anything specific?
I would say the main thing I learned working with all of these incredible artists on Six Strings, is how gracious and professional they all are. For them to put their names and spend their time on my record means the world. Having that stamp of approval from not only my friends, but my heroes is the greatest feeling of accomplishment I could ever hope for.
What’s your first memory of the guitar and what’s the first song you ever learned to play?
I got my first guitar when I was 5 years old. My parents dropped me off for my first lesson, and the guitar teacher came out about 10 minutes later to tell my parents I couldn’t read, so he couldn’t teach me. I was devastated and put the guitar away until I was 14. I started writing songs in middle school and that led me to picking it back up. Plus, I could read this time [laughs]. I believe the first two songs I learned were “That’s All Right” by Elvis Presley and “Troubadour” by George Strait.
How did creating the songs on the EP challenge you as an artist?
Six Strings was hands down the most fun and the most challenging music I have worked on so far. The whole record is stripped to vocals, drums, bass, my guitar, and the feature’s guitar. We wanted it to sound somewhat stripped and feel like you were listening to a live band. It stretched me as a guitar player because I was the only one playing while we were recording, so there was nowhere to hide. I produced it with my friends, Pete Good and AJ Babcock, and for the majority of the time it was just the three of us in the studio. Playing with different sounds, trying different arrangements for the songs, and finding ways to make less instruments sound like more. Really diving into creating a real record. I feel like I came out of recording Six Strings a better artist because of it.
Congratulations on your marriage! How is married life treating you so far?
Thank you! Being married is the best. Not a whole lot changes, except taxes and getting used to saying “wife” verses “fianceé” [laughs].
What’s next for you in 2021?
I am hoping to play some shows in 2021, as well attend some. I can’t wait to play the songs off Six Strings live! I am always writing and recording, so I am going to get back to work on my full-length album. Besides that, I’m planning to enjoy being home with Bri and our two pups.
Fans can purchase Six Strings HERE.