- Rick and Laura Hall
Concert with The Sweet Potatoes, Laura’s faith music and Rick’s storytelling.
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: First Chris…
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Despite living in and doing most of their acting and musical projects in Los Angeles, Rick and Laura Hall still stay connected to west-central Illinois.
Time was, though, when Rick Hall felt he had to shed those roots.
“I went through a period of time,” Hall said during a recent telephone interview, “that I had to pretend I was from Chicago. As my acting career went along, I realized that (where I came from) made it unique.”
It was Laura Hall, a Chicago-area native, who encouraged him to commemorate his experiences of farm life in Carrollton. That small-town humor and those eccentric characters are most prevalent in Rick’s one-man show “Pigboy,” and “Slice of Pie,” a 2009 movie short featured in a number of international film festivals.
The Halls return to the area for shows in Springfield and Jacksonville (see accompanying information for details). Their trip will include a visit to their 150-acre Carrollton farm, which Rick’s brother Rob still works.
Both shows will include music from the Halls’ project, The Sweet Potatoes (Kelly Macleod, a former member of the rock group Private Life, rounds out the trio), a mix of country, folk and Americana music. The trio’s second album, “Faith, Good Neighbors and a Telephone” came out in March and was produced by Nashville-based Phil Swann, who has written songs for Clay Aiken and Blake Shelton, among others.
Laura Hall, best known as the improvisational pianist on the CW show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” (and on its former ABC-TV version) says she’s always gravitated toward the Americana music genre, especially growing up around the folk scene in Chicago where her influences included Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell.
“This is like my story. This is music for my heart,” says Laura, who writes the music and lyrics with Macleod and plays guitar, accordion and ukulele, in addition to vocals.
“I’ve been a songwriter my whole life, but this is a place where all these different perspectives, especially as a mother, can have its expression.”
Laura says the Springfield show will also draw material from her two inspirational albums, “A Woman of Faith” and “All in God’s Good Time.” She admits that she’s been “all over the map musically,” having scored music for the films “Anatomy of A Breakup” and “Christmas With the Kranks” and the acclaimed documentary “Swimming in Auschwitz.”
After coming to Christianity as an adult, Laura says the two inspirational albums “felt like a natural extension (of my faith). You write about what you know.”
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