Michael Hall graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1979 with a degree in government. He wrote for various publications, including Trouser Press, Third Coast Magazine, the Austin American-Statesman, and the Austin Chronicle. In 1997 he joined Texas Monthly, where he has won two Texas Gavel Awards from
the State Bar of Texas and three Stephen Philbin Awards from the Dallas Bar Association. He was named the CRMA’s Writer of the Year in 2015. Hall’s stories have appeared in The Best American Magazine Writing, The Best American Sports Writing, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Da Capo Best Music Writing, the
New York Times, and Men’s
Journal
. Hall is also a musician and has played in Austin bands such as
Wild Seeds, the Setters, the Lollygaggers, and the Savage Trip.

Articles by Michael Hall

Feature
Across The Line

Jan 21, 2013 By Michael Hall

Was the quaint East Texas town of Mineola home to a horrific child sex ring? Were the three people sent to prison last year for running it guilty? Was justice served? Depends on which district attorney you ask.

Lance Armstrong Has Something to Get Off His Chest

Jan 20, 2013 By Michael Hall

As he readies himself for this summer's Tour de France, the two-time winner is battling allegations in Europe and elsewhere that he uses performance-enhancing drugs. He insists he is clean. But proving that is turning out to be one of his toughest challenges yet. He doesn't use performance-enhancing drugs, he insists, no matter what his critics in the European press and elsewhere say. And yet the accusations keep coming. How much scrutiny can the two-time Tour de France winner stand? A lot—which is a good thing, since he's heading back up that hill again.

Three Chords and A Station Wagon

Jan 20, 2013 By Michael Hall

In the years before anyone had heard of Woodstock or Altamont, teenagers across Texas started bands in their parents’ garages, banging out earnest rock songs on cheap equipment and hoping to hit it big at the local skating rink or VFW post. For some, those dreams won’t fade away.

The Slow Life and Fast Death of DJ Screw

Jan 20, 2013 By Michael Hall

He was one of the most influential cultural figures in Texas—–a generous godfather to a generation of rappers, an entrepreneur of Houston's mean streets, the master of a scene fueled by codeine cough syrup and hip-hop beats. When he overdosed in November at the age of 29, it was easy to dismiss him as yet another musician who succumbed to his own success. But his story is more complicated than that.

The Exonerated

Jan 20, 2013 By Michael Hall

Thirty-seven men, 525 years behind bars for crimes they didn’t commit. Thanks to DNA testing, their claims of innocence have finally been proved—but what happens to them now?

Separated At Death

Jan 20, 2013 By Michael Hall

Ernest Willis spent seventeen years on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. And he has a few things to say about the case of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in 2004 for a strangely similar crime that many experts believe he didn’t commit either.

Weird Science

Jan 20, 2013 By Michael Hall

As the peculiar case of a Fort Bend sheriff’s deputy and his bloodhounds makes clear, the techniques of crime-scene investigation are not as infallible as the TV shows would have us believe. How a misplaced faith in some forensic experts is putting innocent people behind bars.

Desperately Seeking Cormac

Jan 20, 2013 By Michael Hall

Cormac McCarthy’s birth date and birthplace are just two of the facts about him that have eluded his rabid fans—until now. A dossier on the most fiercely private writer in Texas.

The Soul of a Man

Jan 20, 2013 By Michael Hall

For nearly sixty years, a succession of obsessed blues and gospel fans have trekked across Texas, trying to unearth the story of one of the greatest, and most mysterious, musicians of the twentieth century. But the more they find, the less they seem to know.

Let There Be Lightnin’

Jan 20, 2013 By Michael Hall

Twenty-five years after his death, Sam Hopkins is still one of the most influential bluesmen in history—that much we know. But we don’t know nearly enough about who he was.

Birthplaces of the Blues

Jan 20, 2013 By Michael Hall

Want to see the Texas of Leadbelly, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Mance Lipscomb, and other pioneering musicians of the twentieth century? Your trip through time begins near Washington-on-the-Brazos.

Home Girl

Jan 20, 2013 By Michael Hall

Most people from Dallas who make it big in the music business get out of town as soon as they can. “That’s what celebrities do,” Erykah Badu says. “I never wanted to be a celebrity.”

Viva Fort Hood

Jan 20, 2013 By Michael Hall

Before Elvis Presley became an overweight entertainer in a rhinestone jumpsuit, there was a brief, more innocent time when he wore khakis as an Army private in Central Texas. It was his last chance to be a normal human being. And to be happy.

The Judgment of Sharon Keller

Jan 20, 2013 By Michael Hall

Her decision to close the door on a death row inmate’s final plea has earned the state’s top criminal judge lasting infamy and a misconduct investigation that goes to trial this month. But was she wrong?

It’s a Family Affair

Jan 20, 2013 By Michael Hall

For all her talent and poise, Beyoncé didn't become the biggest star in the world without help. And she got plenty of it from the people who know her best.

The Fabric of Our Lives

Jan 20, 2013 By Michael Hall

I know her as my mother, whose womb I emerged from more than fifty years ago. They—the million or so quilting fanatics, mostly women, who spend hours a day with needle, thread, fabric, and sewing machine—know her as a celebrity. She can’t believe it either.

EEEEEEAAAAOOOOWWW!!!

Jan 20, 2013 By Michael Hall

On November 5, 181,500 people crowded into a former cow pasture north of Fort Worth to watch 43 race cars drive really, really fast for five hundred miles. That day, the Texas Motor Speedway would be, measured by population, one of the largest cities in the state. Welcome to NASCAR, Texas.

Hysteria

Jan 20, 2013 By Michael Hall

When adults are accused of unthinkable crimes against children, what’s fact and what’s fiction can get lost in translation.

Pit Stops

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe, Eileen Schwartz, Joe Nick Patoski, Katy Vine, John Morthland, Paul Burka, John Spong, Michael Hall, Jane Dure and Christopher Keyes

Where are the best places to eat barbecue in Texas? Six years ago we published a highly subjective—and hotly debated— list of our fifty favorite joints, and now we’ve gone back for seconds. Ten intrepid souls drove more than 21,000 miles in search of 2003’s worthiest ‘cue. Here’s what they came back with: the top 5 and the next 45, plus honorable mentions, great chains, and meat by mail.

The Ballad of Billy Joe Shaver

Jan 20, 2013 By Michael Hall

If the Corsicana native is the best songwriter in Texas, perhaps it's because he knows his material. Hardscrabble upbringing. Sinful behavior. Redemption. Personal tragedy. Profound sorrow. And, finally, more redemption.

Death Isn’t Fair

Jan 20, 2013 By Michael Hall

Cops who threaten torture. Prosecutors who go too far. Defense lawyers who sleep on the job. And an appellate court that rubber-stamps it all. Let’s be tough on crime, but let’s also see that justice is done.