Rachel Hall is a singer/songwriter/guitarist known for her powerhouse voice. Fans compare her to Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, Brandi Carlile, and Janis Joplin. She leads The Rachel Hall Band and performs with Carl Filipiak & The Jimi Jazz Band, as well as doing solo, duo, and trio shows with a mix of covers and originals. (photo credit: Terry Hahn)


Musical Childhood 

If you know me, you know that music is in my blood. My parents met through the local music scene. My Dad is a musician of enormous talent. A humble man and fantastic tele player, he grew up in the suburbs of Washington DC in the same beautiful "Anacostia Delta” music scene as Danny Gatton and Roy Buchanan. My Dad's brother, Chris Hall, was the bass player in the Hall Brothers band until my Dad retired a few years back. Chris still plays with other bands, including Patsy's Torch and Twang.  

My Dad's dad (Chick Hall Sr., or as I called him, Grandaddy!) was a country-jazz guitar virtuoso and made Armed Forces Radio records with Glenn Miller. Around 1953, he began playing with his own band, the Chick Hall Trio. Many guitarists on the scene were influenced by Grandaddy, and you could hear his style in their playing. He also owned one of the coolest musical melting pots in the area, Chick Hall's Surf Club. The Surf Club was host to amazing musicians and friends of his who passed through to jam on occasion, including Roy Clark, Patsy Cline, Jimmy Dean, Lefty Frizzell, Charlie Daniels, and many others.  

On my Mom’s side, her father, Kimble Blair (or as I called him, Pop!) was a mainstay of the Baltimore bluegrass music scene during his 50-year career playing bluegrass music. He distinguished himself on the fiddle playing with Walter Hensley and the Dukes of Bluegrass; Bob Baker and the Pike County Boys; Jack Cooke and the Virginia Mountain Boys; Marvin Howell and the Franklin County Boys; and Del McCoury, to mention only a few. And then there's my Uncles (Mom's brothers) who have played with Ricky Skaggs and countless others all over the US and Canada.  

I was lucky enough to sing with both of my grandfathers, all of my uncles, and play guitar with most of them. I have so many fond memories of jams on Christmas Eve. I have always had a fascination for live music and have wanted to perform as early as I can remember.  

I LOVED going to the Surf Club with Grandaddy during the day as a little kid while my mom and dad were working (before I was old enough for school, and then Summers thereafter). I got to sweep the dance floor, play songs on the jukebox, and test out microphones on the stage. My mom always told the story of "my first word in the microphone" rather than my "first word". Grandaddy wanted me to try out the microphone when I was about 2. "Say something in that mic for us Sugar." I decided to say the biggest word I knew at the time, which was Macaroni (and came out "mac-a-Woni").  

I was only 4 years old when my first stage performance happened at the Baltimore Convention Center when my dad was touring with Ronnie Dove. I was hooked after that. I did a few more performances with Ronnie, and sang every year at the Surf Club for New Year's Eve.  

Musical Teenager 

By the time I was 10, I was determined to play the guitar. By age 12, I performed my first song on stage playing guitar and singing simultaneously; again with Ronnie Dove and my Dad. I continued cutting teeth on New Year's Eve at the Surf Club, and guest starring with family here and there. By age 16, I was sitting in with musicians in Fells Point, and got my first solo acoustic gig at Leadbetters Tavern at 17. By age 18, I had 3 weekly solo gigs. Mondays at O'Brien's in Abingdon (now the Bushmill Tavern), Leadbetters in Fells on Wednesday afternoons, and Big Al's in Edgewood on Thursdays.  

I did sound, lights, and CD sales for Pete Baker and the Agitators on the weekends, and It was Pete who really helped me get my start with gigging independently. He and Dennis Schocket and Gina DeLuca (and too many others to mention) were very supportive, letting me sit in with them countless times; helping build my confidence and gain the connections & exposure I needed. I was truly blessed to be in Baltimore and Harford County with the most supportive musical community! 

All Grown Up  

Around age 22, I joined my first band, The Damsels, with Sabrina Scarborough on vocals and 12-string acoustic, and Tim Pirpitsakis on drums. We put out a 10-song collaborative album, "Ashes" (2006) - 5 songs written and sung by me and 5 songs written and sung by Sabrina with great harmonies and driving beats. The Damsels disbanded a few years later to pursue different interests, and I went out in search of my next musical project. I co-hosted an all-female open mic/jam in Fells Point on Tuesdays with Gina DeLuca for a few years, continuing to meet and collaborate with so many amazing people.  

In 2012, I took some time off to start a family. My daughter was born in June 2013, and my son in May 2015. It was tough getting back into the music scene after such a long hiatus, but with the help of my beautiful community, I was gigging again by 2016 and soon joined the band 8 Track Mind with Greg Schroeder on drums, Bronson Wagner on bass, and Todd Miller until Warren Boes took over on guitar. I pushed myself to do songs I had only dreamed of doing, and before I knew it, I was a full-time musician. It became tough on my family, as one can imagine, and sadly my husband and I split up in 2018. Determined to be outstanding co-parents, we worked out a schedule that allowed us to split our time with the kids and allowed for me to continue playing music full-time.  

I was and still am very thankful to be able to do this.  

The pandemic threw a wrench in many things for all of us, and for me it meant no job for a long time. Luckily I had connections with venues that created outdoor spaces for live music and I was able to keep at least some connections. When things got back to "mostly normal" and gigs picked up again, I realized that I wanted to start in a new direction.  

I took a chance, made the jump, and started my own band - The Rachel Hall Band. We played our first show on April 25, 2021 at Big Falls Inn, and we knew immediately that we had something special. With Warren Boes (All Mighty Senators, Speakers of the House) on guitar, Matt Everhart (Speakers of the House, Carl Filipiak) on Bass, and Frank Young (Carl Filipiak, Lisa Cerbone) on drums. I knew this band would be unstoppable. They were all immediately enthusiastic about writing, recording, and putting out albums. We share a spirit of collaboration and mutual respect. I truly hit the jackpot. Frank and Matt were also kind enough to introduce me to Carl Filipiak, who invited me to sit in on a show, and shortly after asked me to join his band as well!  I'm blessed to be working with such talented musicians, and I look forward to the next chapter in my musical career. Stay tuned...