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Lyle Lovett Speaks Highly of Uncle Walt's Band and Offspring

Posted by Scott Metko on August 18, 2012 at 9:30 PM

Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 1:31 by Dan Armonaitis In his 1996 song, “That’s Right (You’re Not from Texas),” legendary singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett included a verse about the members of Uncle Walt’s Band, a seminal pre-Americana group originally formed in Spartanburg.

When Lovett was starting his career, he was often asked to open for Uncle Walt’s Band, which had become a fixture on the Austin, Texas, roots music circuit in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. He never forgot how much of a boost the trio – David Ball, Champ Hood and Walter Hyatt – gave him.

Here’s an excerpt from “That’s Right (You’re Not from Texas)”:

“Those boys from Carolina, they sure enough could sing

But when they came down to Texas, we all showed them how to swing

Now David’s on the radio, and old Champ’s still on the guitar

And Uncle Walt, he’s home with Heidi, hiding in her loving arms.”

Sadly, Hyatt was killed in a 1996 plane crash not long after Lovett recorded the song and just before it was officially released. Hood died from cancer in 2001.

As the sole surviving member of Uncle Walt’s Band, the Nashville, Tenn.-based Ball has lately made some of the best music of his career, but the line “David’s on the radio” appears to be criminally outdated.

In a recent interview, Lovett – whose co-headlining acoustic tour with John Hiatt makes a stop Tuesday at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium – continued to heap praise on the members of Uncle Walt’s Band. But he didn’t stop there.

During our conversation, Lovett let it be known that he also admires the musically gifted offspring of the influential band.

“Oh my goodness, I stay in touch with Warren (Hood) all the time,” Lovett said. “I think Warren’s amazing. He sounds so much like his dad – his (singing) and the way he speaks.

“I met Warren, I guess, when he was maybe 7 (years old), in Austin. He was always a sweet little boy, and he’s just the same as he was when I first met him. He writes great songs, and he’s a wonderful musician.

“Walter’s son, Taylor (Hyatt), is playing a little bit too. I don’t think he’s playing out professionally the way Warren does, but it’s interesting. I hear about him every now and then.

“And, of course, Audrey Ball, David’s daughter, has a huge voice. She’s wonderful.”

Before our conversation ended, Lovett asked if I knew how Marshall Hood, Champ’s guitar-playing nephew, was doing. Marshall, a Spartanburg native, was notably a member of the now-defunct Belleville Outfit, which, a few years ago, made a splash on the Americana circuit from its home base in Austin.

“Is he living back in Spartanburg?” Lovett asked, not knowing about Marshall’s recent music activity in the Lone Star State.

“He’s still in Austin? Oh, cool,” Lovett said. “Well, I’ll have to look for him.”

Here’s a link to a story about Lovett (including a few comments about Uncle Walt’s Band) published today by the Herald-Journal and


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