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Heavy Music recreates Bob Seger’s ‘Live Bullet’ at the Green Door

Local singer Ben Hall celebrates legendary 1975 concert


If you lived in Michigan back in ‘75, Bob Seger was a certified rock star. The Ann Arbor native had been cutting local hits since the mid-1960s and was known for selling piles of tickets wherever he performed. Unfortunately for the hardworking Seger, who played 250 shows a year at the time, he was only known outside his home state in a few small pockets of the country.  
That changed with the release of 1976’s “Live Bullet” on Capitol Records. The powerhouse double album, recorded live over two nights in September 1975 at Cobo Hall in Detroit, introduced Seger and his Silver Bullet Band to the whole world. Later in 1976, Seger’s “Night Moves” LP sealed his legacy as a platinum-selling artist.  
Today, Seger has sold more than 75 million albums across his lengthy discography, but the breakthrough live album remains a favorite for many fans, including local singer Ben Hall. He recently formed Heavy Music, a band created solely to perform “Live Bullet” in its entirety, plus some other favorites. The show is next Saturday (May 18) at the Green Door.  
“I’m 49 years old. Typically, adult males reach their vocal peak in their mid-30s. I’m trying to do everything I can while I still can,” Hall said. “‘Live Bullet’ is a piece of my musical DNA. That’s why I chose it, plus it's one of the greatest live albums of all time.” 
As for matching Seger’s famous soulfully gritty voice, heard on classic-rock staples like “Katmandu,” “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” and the band’s namesake, “Heavy Music,” Hall said he’s not worried about it.  
“I do alright when I sing lower, but we approach high notes differently,” he explained. “He’s a little more Otis (Redding), and I’m a little more Stevie (Wonder).”  

Hall, known for his vocal work with local groups the Further Adventures of FatBoy & JiveTurkey and the Black Rock Sextet, is backed by a supergroup of local musicians. Heavy Music comprises Will Rideout of Big Willy on guitar, Andy Callis of Atomic Boogaloo on keyboards, Michael Smalley of Big Willy and Spoonful on bass, Eric Payne of the Jazz Doggs and Kathleen & the Bridge Street Band on drums and Mocha Man of Mixed Flavors and Brotha Earth on saxophone. 

One of the most celebrated parts of “Live Bullet” is when the band seamlessly yet epically transitions from “Travelin’ Man” into “Beautiful Loser.” Hall said recreating that, as well as other tracks like “Turn the Page” and the opener, “Nutbush City Limits,” has been both challenging and exciting.  

“I love a challenge, and I’m surrounding myself with very capable musicians who enjoy the material as much as I do,” he said. “We’re really dissecting the music and trying our best to honor it.”  
As a Michigan-based Seger fan, Hall was, of course, introduced to his music at a young age. When asked if Seger has influenced his music, Hall wasn’t shy about acknowledging the musician’s lasting impact on him. 
“It’s in my heart. ‘Live Bullet’ is a huge reason why I am who I am musically. First, there was Bob Seger, then there was everything else,” said Hall, who recalls mimicking Seger as a toddler. “My dad was fairly addicted to the ‘Live Bullet’ album. It was some of the earliest music that I heard. He would play it over and over. The first song I ever learned the words to was ‘Turn the Page.’ 
“I even had the dialogue between tracks memorized,” he added. “My dad would put me up on the coffee table like it was a stage, hand me a candlestick and encourage me to sing along. I guess those were some of my earliest performances.”  


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