The Wet Willie frontman gets ready for a monumental southern rock reunion with his friends The Marshall Tucker Band
In case you missed the memo, it’s a huge weekend for Macon’s own magical blend of southern rock history: The Marshall Tucker Band and Wet Willie are reuniting for a once-in-a-blue-moon, co-headlining night of hits and camaraderie at the Macon City Auditorium.
The Marshall Tucker Band’s lead singer Doug Gray recently told The Creek that he was ready to be back in Macon and the same can be said for Wet Willie frontman and legendary voice Jimmy Hall.
“I’m extremely excited about it. It’s just so much fun for groups like us that have such a history to get back together in the same town where we started our careers recording. That’s historic in itself,” Hall told Creekside Mornings’ Charles Davis and Sam Stephens on air this week.
It’s been quite a minute since the two have crossed paths on the road. Both MTB and Hall stay incredibly busy with dates all over the country and new music (Hall released a brand-new album, Ready Now, just last year.) So, a reunion show with two of Capricorn Records’ biggest, most beloved, and most notable acts begs the question…
Will there be a super jam?
“That’s probably what’s gonna happen,” Hall teased. “Everybody’s gonna get up there at one time and raise the roof!”
The nearly sold-out audience will no doubt be delighted, as will all the band members on stage, especially originals Gray and Hall. For Hall, it’s a rare opportunity to stand alongside his old friend and reminisce about the journeys that have propelled them both into the history books of rock ‘n roll.
“We always look back and go, ‘Look where we started and look where we are.’ And back then, we were kind of—not competitive, but you know like, ‘Man, you’re a good singer! Who can sing higher?’ We’d just poke fun and have fun with each other,” Hall said.
Wet Willie’s origin story is as unique as their proprietary blend of rock, funk, jazz, country, soul, and the blues. A true standout on Capricorn’s roster, the Alabama natives might not have made it to Macon at all had it not been for one crucial piece of vinyl that led to the decision that forever changed their lives.
“We got The Allman Brothers’ first album and played it over and over,” Hall recalled. “Once we got it, it was like, ‘My God, this is just an incredible sound. Listen to this singer.’ The way they wrote their songs and arranged their material was just so unique. It had rock, it had blues, it had jazz, so that became our beacon to go, ‘Okay. We should go to Macon, Georgia and we should go right now.’”
“I’d been in college for two years at the University of South Alabama. My brother Jack had been there for two years. We said it’s now or never. We had that feeling. So, we packed up the van.”
Thanks to a connection at the label, the stars continued to align for Hall, his brother, and his friends.
“We kind of set it all up with a friend that we knew at the label. Frank Friedman played guitar and was part of the original rhythm section at Capricorn. Our guitar player Ricky Hirsch was a fraternity brother of his at the University of Alabama. He had this connection, he had his phone number and he said, ‘I’m gonna call him up.’”
“I said, ‘Hey, you think we could work out some kind of audition with Capricorn,’ and Frank said, ‘Yeah, y’all pack it up and come on up here they want to hear you.’ So, we did. We drove to Macon. They had a warehouse kind of rehearsal place with a stage. We set our equipment up and played about 45 minutes to an hour of our material and arrangements and at the end of it we were all shaking hands, and everyone was smiling.”
Hall’s smile at recalling this memory can be heard through the phone, especially when he remembers a specific moment of endorsement from Capricorn’s Frank Fenter on that fateful day.
“Frank [Fenter] was saying, ‘American Rolling Stones!’ Everybody still says I look kinda like Mick Jagger.”
And for his part, Hall still commands the stage with the same level of “Jagger swagger,” which he’ll no doubt bring to the stage on November 17th. A small batch of tickets remains for The Marshall Tucker Band and Wet Willie with special guests The Georgia Thunderbolts at the Macon City Auditorium. Get them now by clicking here.