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Pickin, singin and ridin at Mountains Center
Local musician shares his passion for country music at bull riding event.
Local teen musician Alex Hall will perform at this weekend's Southern Championship Bullriding event at the Georgia Mountains Center and an after party at 9 p.m. Saturday at The Monkey Barrel on the Gainesville square.

Southeastern Championship Bullriding

Where: Georgia Mountains Center

When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (doors open at 7), 3 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: Adults $17 Friday-Saturday, $15 in advance, ages 12 and under $10; Sunday, adults $15, ages 12 and under $6, ages 55 and over $10 (doors open at 2). Group pricing available for 10 or more, $10 per person

More information: Mountains Center, 770-534-8420; Alex Hall's music, MySpace or Facebook 

If you plan to catch this weekend's bull riding event at the Georgia Mountains Center you're in store for a country music treat.

Local singer-songwriter 16-year-old Alex Hall will be performing acoustic music each night and during Sunday's intermission at the bull riding competition.

"They were generous enough to allow Alex to play (at the event)," said Bill Hall, Alex's father. "It's the first time he's played at this event but he's played a lot in Gainesville. He's been playing in Gainesville for almost two years."

Recently, Alex Hall performed in Tunica, Miss., at the Fortune 5 Barrel Racing Finals awards ceremony.

"There were probably 2,000 people there that he performed for," Hall said. "(Alex) used to compete on barrel horses but he's given that up to write songs and sing."

As Alex's manager, Hall hopes to see his son succeed in the music industry.

"Next week he is talking to his vocal coach, Jan Smith (of Atlanta, whose other clients include Sugarland and Justin Bieber). She will be working with Alex (and will) talk to a record label next week," he said.

Hall said people have questioned him about how much he's supporting his teenage son. Some have speculated that because of his age, singing will merely be a fad for Alex.

"He has such a passion for it," Hall said. "The child gets up at 6 o'clock in the morning and plays his guitar until 11 or 12 o'clock at night. When he's not in school, he's playing the guitar or writing a song, or he's at the vocal coach."

Alex Hall hopes his gig at the bull riding event will persuade people to come to the after party at 9 p.m. Saturday at The Monkey Barrel on the Gainesville square to enjoy The Alex Hall Band. Members include Hall on lead vocals and guitar; Chris Stowe, bass; Thomas Branch, drums and vocals; and Travis Leggett, lead guitar.

"They can hear me and hopefully they will check out the stuff online and then come out Saturday night and hear the band," he said.

"It's gonna be an awesome night. The bull riding is good family entertainment and, of course, the after party is going to be (fun) for the adults," Bill Hall said.

There is a MySpace and Facebook page for Alex Hall fans where a sampling of some of his music can be found. "Take Me Anywhere," a song about getting out of the city and back onto a dirt road "anywhere," has had more than 2,500 hits on his MySpace page.

"Take Me Anywhere" was the 14th most played song in 2010 on the Backyard Country list (made up of local unsigned artists) on 94.9 FM-The Bull Atlanta, according to Lance Houston, an on-air personality and programmer for the station.

Alex Hall said his inspiration for writing a song can come from any place. "It can come from watching a movie, something that you've seen someone else experience or that you've experienced."

One thing is certain. "I am very passionate about my music," he said. "I just love to see the people's reaction, how they react to the different songs that we play and how it affects them."

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