It's likely that no one will ever be able to sort out 100 percent of the truth about Roy Hall's life -- especially as he used a borrowed name for much of his career, and his legend still seems to get printed in lieu of what he claimed to scholar/historian Martin Hawkins was the truth. The legend is pretty well known in rock & roll circles -- born James Faye Hall in Big Stone Gap, VA, in 1922, he learned the piano from a local bluesman who was also a dedicated drinker, with the result that he became a keyboard wizard and also a serious drunkard when he was barely out of his teens. The truth was a bit more mundane, as he explained to Hawkins in a couple of meetings in the mid-'70s. He was, indeed, born James Faye Hall in Big Stone Gap in 1922, but he was introduced to the piano by his mother, and she was his first teacher. He discovered early on that he was a natural pianist, capable of playing by ear as a boy, and formal lessons proved superfluous. He absorbed all manner of influences around him, including country and blues, and one of those players whom he did cite as a major influence was Piano Red aka Willie Perryman, the itinerant pianist 11 years his senior, who began making his name in juke joints, honky tonks, and barrelhouses in Tennessee (and Hall grew up right on the Tennessee border with Virginia), Alabama, and Georgia. Rather ironically, both men, though born a long time before its advent, would play important roles in the early history of rock & roll.