The only problem with last night's sold-out Tom T. Hall concert at Baird Auditorium was that there wasn't enough Tom T. Hall. After all, the Smithsonian's new country series is called "The Great Songwriters" and Hall didn't pick up the name "Storyteller" doing other people's material. In fact, Hall's reputation has been built on narrative simplicity, humor and a humanist's insight into what makes people tick.
The first half of the program featured Hall alone with an acoustic guitar, relating personal history and initial songwriting efforts like "ramona's Revenge" and the perfect army anthem "Thrity-Six Months of Loneliness and 3,000 Gallons of Beer." But there was only one verse of each of his first two songwriting hits, "D.J. for a Day" and "Harper Valley P.T.A." (for Jimmy Newman and Jeannie C. Riley, respectively.)
The second half, with Hall backed by his excellent Storytellers band, opened promisingly with "Country Is," "I Remember the Day Clayton Delaney Died" and his newest single, "You Show Me Your Heart And I'll Show You Mine." At that point, Hall took a detour with Hank Williams, Don Gibson and a ludicrous interpretaton of Jerry Jeff Walker's "Mr. Bo-jangles."