We’re talking to musician Gregg Hall of The White Iron Band and Gregg Hall and the Wrecking Ball. Gregg grew up in Medary, Wisconsin outside of La Crosse, his family is composed of musicians, singers, artists, and actors. Performing since he was 8 years old, Gregg has released 12 albums and EP’s and has shared the stage with Little Feet, Dr. John, Bill Miller, Jackson Brown, and more. We caught up with Gregg as he talks about his beginnings and new album.
Interviewer: We’re talking to musician Gregg Hall of The White Iron Band and Gregg Hall and the Wrecking Ball. Gregg grew up in Medary, Wisconsin outside of La Crosse, his family is composed of musicians, singers, artists, and actors. Performing since he was 8 years old, Gregg has released 12 albums and EP’s and has shared the stage with Little Feet, Dr. John, Bill Miller, Jackson Brown, and more. We caught up with Gregg as he talks about his beginnings and new album.
Gregg: My name is Greg “Cheech” Hall, I grew up in Medary, Wisconsin in the beautiful Smith Valley Coulee Region. I got introduced to music by my family who were all musicians, my brother is a super good singer, mom plays piano, dad plays the banjo and then all my cousins are very involved in the local community theater and the Arts. My aunt Patricia and my cousin Ashton are big artists nationally and locally so we just have a lot of artsy-fartsy people in our family. That’s kinda how I got my start, I have been performing since I was 8 years old and I guess I’ve never looked back
Interviewer: You have about 12 albums and releases out right now. You also have another new album out. What was the inspiration for this one?
Gregg: With the new album, I’m coming to a milestone where I’m almost 40
I really wanted to put something out that I truly believed in that I gave it my 100% and really took my time. I got the right players, although it took a little bit longer than I would have normally taken. But I’m really proud of the fact that we are not going to look back on this record and say “we should have done that…we should have no.” I mean we took our time and I got a lot more people involved in the production and then I’d normally would. Working with Brett Hughes from La Crosse, Michael Von Muchaue did the mastering. Dylan Nau out of St. Paul, Minnesota and Christian Staley, one of my friends, helped me produce the record. It was worth the time and effort and I really truly believe in this record being my best work as a songwriter performer producer than I’ve ever done taking your time and being patient and not forcing that art, really brought to the surface this band what my song our needs really about, you know, it’s not just one is genre. We kind of jump all over this country, there’s rhythm and blues. There’s a really nice pretty instrumental sound in one, little bit of Bluegrass Country. A really dark song about addiction in “Neverending Dead End Road” and the almost like a pop country ballad the sound called GLOW. That we were actually doing a music video for. This is the one where we really put our eyes on the prize. And I really think people are going to be impressed when they hear it. That’s what I’m hoping for, anyway.
Interviewer: You know, you mentioned some of the people are helping you out. It seems to me that you have a lot of musicians on this and the album seems to span a lot of musical genres and you didn’t mention an instrumental piece, but they also have another vocalist in the mix on here as well.
Gregg: We have expanded our band from 6 pieces to an 8 piece, my friend Alexander Green who is from DeSoto, WI. We’ve been friends for 20 years and her partner Kale Olson Read does some fiddle work. She just got that really soulful country voice. I mean, she feels it in a way that I felt was perfect for what I wanted to accomplish on this record. To me, her vocals brought a whole new element to the band that hadn’t been there. In a strong country female vocalist. I mean to me there’s nothing better that I love more than a female country singer. I mean, I grew up listening to the Judds and to Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle and she really kind of was almost like she just came in and did exactly what I wanted her to do without me even having to explain it, she just got it. The same with her partner on the fiddle, he played fiddle on GLOW and his solo was just perfect. Those two will be featured in our video too. So we have an eight-piece band now Josh Raby really brought to life some of these tunes and then my friend Johnny Peterson, unfortunately sad to say he passed away about a month ago but he’s from Winona and is someone else and he played with some of the biggest names in country music mainly, Kenny Chesney, Crystal Gayle Patty Loveless and the list goes on and on and on that was a big thing for me giving my friend Johnny one last gig before he passed and then to the Cuban percussion Ensemble of Lacrosse. They also play in Re-Birth just doing some backup congas and hand drums and stuff and Dominic Orrique a local musician from Sparta did some harmonica on this bluesy number, Bob Olgren played some saxophone as well. Bob fixes horns up on the third floor at Leitholds and me and him go way back and Gary Arentz wrote the horn part. And he’s I want to say he is the band director up in Winona schools. So like you said, there’s a lot of people in more than I thought that came in and made this record what it is.
Interviewer: There are different players on the CD a lot of the different songs. Is there a favorite track on the album
Gregg: Yes, I think the song GLOW is the hit, we did the music video that we got coming out, and it’s going to be unbelievable. Dylan Overhouse and his friend Mike a videographer over at LHI, they both did a tremendous job and I’m really excited, it’s like a pop country ballad, my goal is to sell it to Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, and make a million bucks. Never Ending Dead Road, the song about dealing with the struggles of addiction and I think everybody this day in age, you know has either themselves or has had a family member or a dear friend deal with these issues. Then Liberty Street is a song I wrote 20 years ago, we kind of brought that back just did a better rendition of it and had a good quality recording made, the last time we did was 20 years ago.
Interviewer: You’ve opened and played with some major national artists. Are there any interesting stories there? Can you share one either meeting an idol or just some wild night?
Gregg: In the early 2000s, I was planning in The Smokin Bandits and our guitar player Pat would book our shows. He had sent our CD “Walkin Thru”, our first album to a guy who is booking in Ohio for Acoustic Hookah, and they have a festival called Hookahville. We got to really rub elbows with some big stars and we got to eat lunch with Little Feet and then we’re sitting there and all of sudden a giant purple tour bus pulled up and I have no idea who it was and Dr. John got out and he sat down and hung out with us and at lunch with us. In one hour, I rubbed elbows with Dr. John and Little Feet, for me, was pretty cool, I’ve been a huge little feet fan since day one. One other time, playing with Nicholas David Band we got to play a gig with Jackson Browne, so we got to watch a full Jackson Brown solo gig at this private club out in LA, California and then we played the after party for this beautiful patio spread sponsored by Yamaha. That was a pretty sweet gig. Then we’ve got to open up for Shooter Jennings Band a bunch of times. We got to open for Lynyrd Skynyrd with White Iron Band.
Interviewer: As you talked about getting to work and become a successful and just doing the thing that you do? What’s what’s next for Greg Hall?
Gregg: I’m just waiting for the album to come up on Spotify and all that stuff and I think once we get the video on the up start promoting this new album, I mean, it’s just off to the races I guess. In a perfect world, we get signed and we get on the radio.
Interviewer: So where can people pick up the album and find out more about You?
Gregg: Deeceproductions.com, Gregghallmusic.com and Whiteironband.com. All the merchandise is under Deece Productions. You can order t-shirts, CDs, lighters, stickers. We have a bunch of merchandise and everything that you need for me and Deece and everything is at deeceproductions.com.