Singer-songwriter Hal Ketchum spent years building the foundation of a solid Nashville career before releasing his breakthrough hit, the proudly twangy “Small Town Saturday Night,” in 1991. Only a few years later, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He’s spent the past decade and a half largely holed up in the small town of Wimberley, Texas, dealing with a progressive illness that has included bouts of paralysis, blindness, and depression.
Recently, Ketchum’s bounced back some—and with the encouragement of his friend, the songwriter Jimmy LaFave, he’s written a new album, I’m the Troubadour, that’ll be out Oct. 7 on LaFave’s Music Road Records. Its lead single, “Baby I’m Blue,” has an easygoing groove and lilting melody that should hit the pleasure centers of anyone who listened to country radio in the early ’80s.