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Mike Hall writes about criminals, musicians, the law, and barbecue. Mike 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 four Stephen Philbin Awards from the Dallas Bar Association. He was named Writer of the Year at the City and Regional Magazine Awards in 2015. His stories have appeared in The Best American Magazine Writing, The Best American Sports Writing, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Da Capo’s Best Music Writing, the New York Times, and Men’s Journal. Mike is also a musician and has played in Austin bands the Wild Seeds, the Setters, the Lollygaggers, and the Savage Trip. He pitches for the Burkas, the Texas Monthly softball team.

278 Articles

News & Politics |
January 20, 2013

The Exonerated

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?

News & Politics |
January 20, 2013

Separated At Death

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.

Feature |
January 20, 2013

Weird Science

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.

Books |
January 20, 2013

Desperately Seeking Cormac

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.

Music |
January 20, 2013

Let There Be Lightnin’

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.

Music |
January 20, 2013

Birthplaces of the Blues

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.

Music |
January 20, 2013

Home Girl

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.”

Music |
January 20, 2013

Viva Fort Hood

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.

Feature |
January 20, 2013

The Judgment of Sharon Keller

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?

Music |
January 20, 2013

It’s a Family Affair

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 Culture |
January 20, 2013

The Fabric of Our Lives

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.

Sports |
January 20, 2013

EEEEEEAAAAOOOOWWW!!!

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,

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

Pit Stops

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

Music |
January 20, 2013

The Ballad of Billy Joe Shaver

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.

Music |
January 20, 2013

Music Clubs

Old country and western in Mingus, zippy zydeco in Bridge City: The shows always go on at these ten tuneful spots.

Law |
January 20, 2013

Death Isn’t Fair

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.

Art |
July 31, 2012

Willie Nelson Statue, Austin

Washington, D.C., has Abraham Lincoln, Salt Lake City has Brigham Young, Philadelphia has Rocky Balboa. And now Austin has Willie. The massive bronze sculpture, which was commissioned by a local group called Capital Area Statues, rests downtown at the corner of Willie Nelson Boulevard (formerly Second Street) and Lavaca outside the new studios of Austin City

Web Exclusive |
March 31, 2012

Justice in Time

Fifteen years after being released from death row, Kerry Max Cook is still looking for freedom.

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