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Friday, May 6, 2016

A long, hard road

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Performer and Elvis impersonator Hal Hubble plays the guitar and sings on the front steps of his hang out in Brazil, the Eagles Loadge no. 274. Jessica Murray Photo. [Order this photo]
* Local musician's journey includes charting single, impersonation

Music has brought performer Hal Hubble joy and pain throughout his life, but he's decided his musical journey isn't over yet.

Hubble spent his life playing saxophone,violin, guitar, banjo, mandolin and singing his heart out.

"Living a hard life, that's where you get your great songs from," Hubble said with tear-filled eyes.

In 1978, his original song, "My Pulse Pumps Passions," appeared on Billboard's Hot Country Singles at number 76.

"I had to leave a girl in Indy and she said 'I know you have to go, but I'll always love you no matter what' and that's where 'My Pulse Pumps Passions' came from," Hubble explained.

In addition to performing songs he's written, Hubble's career includes doing Elvis impersonations.

In 1993, he placed sixth out of 93 in the International Elvis Impersonator Contest in Memphis, Tenn.

Hubble is so well known for performing with an Elvis style, when he enters the room, and greets audience members with his best Elvis-like "Hello Darlin," the crowd may wonder if Elvis has really left the building.

Even though Hubble has traveled to perform in many places across the United States, he still calls Parke and Clay counties his home.

Hubble grew up on a farm between Brazil and Rockville. His interest and love for music began with weekly Saturday night hoedowns.

"There were some hot times, believe you me. I learned back then that an audience is the most important thing going for a performer. Give the people what they want, and they'll in return love you to death," Hubble recalled.

Hal watched his father, Jim Hubble, play fiddle every Saturday.

According to Hubble's biography, Hal was part of the Saturday night talent lineup from the start of first grade through high school.

"Growing up, I played the fiddle. My brother played the guitar. My father told me he didn't think I'd ever learn to sing or play guitar," Hubble told The Brazil Times. "But I borrowed a kid's chord book and learned all the guitar chords. I was determined to learn to sing too."

Today, he still sings, and plays guitar, saxophone, mandolin and banjo.

"If there's any one thing that's brought me happiness, it's music. But if there's anything that's also brought me unhappiness, it's music because of the disappointments," Hubble said.

In addition to singing and writing, Hubble mentors young musicians like his friend Jason Wendell.

"Hal's been around the block and I've learned a lot from him. Someone like Hal has a lot a real-world experience and he's great to talk to," Wendell said.

In addition, Hubble's musical dedication landed him a spot in the Wabash Valley Musicians Hall of Fame, and he was inducted Feb. 13.

Hal Hubble poses for the photo he submitted for an Elvis impersonator competition in Memphis, Tenn. He later won sixth place internationally. Courtesy Photo.
Hubble didn't begin his life after high school performing, but, like a first love, he never forgot it or stopped making music.

After graduating from Van Buren High School in 1956, Hubble played minor league baseball for the Indianapolis Indians from 1957-1958.

He later attended Porter Business College and studied to be a mortician. Hubble served as the funeral director of Beech Grove's Little and Sons Funeral Home, and ended up marrying the boss's daughter, Kay Little, in 1962.

Hubble left the funeral home to work as a salesman and a factory laborer. Meanwhile, he still played music at the county fairs, alumni banquets and night clubs.

Hubble performed with other groups and added equipment to his own group piece by piece as he could afford it.

In 1968, Hubble finally felt strong enough to play full-time gigs and make music his career.

Along with his brother John, Hubble moved to California to entertain as the duo, The Hubble Brothers.

Later, they went their separate ways, but Hal continued to play in such places as the Mint Casino in Las Vegas, Jilley's in Palm Springs and Disneyland.

"I don't ever pick up a guitar for myself. I do it for other people's happiness," Hubble said.

He also won first place in Vegas with "My Pulse Pumps Passions," and was named the Professional Country Category Winner in the first Songwriters International competition.

"Major labels turn you down, but then you get another label to accept the same song that they turned you down on," Hubble said jokingly.

Hubble says he's considering performing locally again, and is currently negoiating with local venues.

"I want to go out and do some special shows, no more night clubs. I might travel, but that's all up in the air," Hubble explained.

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Hal,,,,,,,please ........Elvis has left the building!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Posted by dnnkraus on Sat, Jul 16, 2011, at 9:53 AM

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