Sandra Hall (#1023)

A soulful performer with more than 40 years’ experience singing the blues.

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Sandra Hall, known as the “Empress of the Blues,” brings her soulful singing style to the W.C. Handy Blues and Barbecue Festival in this edition of Jubilee.

Hall started singing at the age of 4, at her grandmother’s fish fry in Atlanta. Early on, she developed a love for the songs of popular artists of the time, such as Laverne Baker, Etta James, and Ike and Tina Turner. In 1965, she joined an all-female group, the Exotics, and began performing blues tunes as an opening act for legendary musicians like Jackie Wilson, B.B. King, and Otis Redding.

Singing and recording as a solo artist since 1976, Hall has toured the country and performed several times in Europe. She has two solo albums, 1995’s Showin’ Off and 1997’s One Drop Will Do You, both of which have garnered praise for their blend of Southern soul and classic blues power.

Critics have compared Hall’s vocal style with those of Etta James, Koko Taylor, and even Dinah Washington. The songs she chooses for her live performances and the way she arranges each piece reveal her deep respect and understanding of jazz, soul, and the various types of blues. She provides audiences with an engaging musical experience that not only entertains, but also touches on her personal musical history.

Backing Hall for this Jubilee performance are Johnny Knox, Bill Burke, Will Culbreath, and Jeff Hudis.