Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Toney Hall overcame severe hand injuries to relearn guitar

Toney Hall sings covers of tunes by the likes of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Tom Petty on Thursday at Jimmy Guana’s in Indian Rocks Beach.

LARA CERRI | Times

Toney Hall sings covers of tunes by the likes of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Tom Petty on Thursday at Jimmy Guana’s in Indian Rocks Beach.

Toney Hall was enjoying a day of water-skiing with friends on Claytor Lake in Virginia when, without warning, the boat's steering cable broke.

The boat lurched, tossing Hall into the water. It happened so quickly that Hall was back in the boat before he began to comprehend how this would change his life. Hall had been hit by the boat's propeller.

"It was gruesome," Hall said. "I was freaking out because my left hand was shredded from the elbow down."

Now, 20 years later, Hall is playing guitar and singing at a local restaurant. The audience smiles and shouts out song requests. I watch, awed at the human spirit's resilience.

Hall, of Largo, began playing in bands while still in high school in Virginia.

"The first time I held a guitar I wanted to make it my career," Hall said. "After the accident both of my hands were useless for months."

He underwent two surgeries on his right hand and a grueling 13 reconstructive surgeries on the left. He lost his left thumb and most of the control, feeling and strength of the fingers on the left hand.

His doctors advised him to give up the guitar.

"I've always been motivated by someone telling me I can't do something," Hall said.

Using a mirror to relearn the guitar, Hall struggled for two years as a left-handed player before he even felt adequate.

"It still doesn't feel natural," Hall said. "If I dream about playing guitar or I start to play air guitar with the radio, I play right-handed."

His damaged fingers can't hold a pick in his left hand.

"I tried Popsicle sticks with electrical tape and bandaging a pick to my hand but nothing worked," Hall said. "Finally, I got creative with super glue and created a pick I can use."

Hall's creation is simple. Using a thumb pick, a finger pick and two more picks, he has created a brace that slips onto his strumming fingers.

In 2002, Hall got married. With the blessing of his wife, Rosetta, he left his full-time job to focus on music.

Hall is a stay-at-home parent by day and plays private parties and local restaurants by night. He played 375 gigs in 2007.

He's developed a following, including Cher and Jim Hoffman of Largo.

"Toney's a great musician," Cher said. "He always gets the crowd going."

We want to hear from you: Do you have an idea for a Largo Explorer column? Contact Largo Times Editor Carrie Weimar at cweimar@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4151.

Want to hear Toney?

Jimmy Guana's, Indian Rocks Beach, 6 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Jimmy's Fish House, Clearwater Beach, 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays.

Coasters, Indian Rocks Beach, 4 to 8 p.m. Sundays.

Or call Toney Hall at (727) 410-9713.

Toney Hall overcame severe hand injuries to relearn guitar 05/10/08 [Last modified: Monday, May 12, 2008 9:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. An annotated look at week 2 of the Bucs on 'Hard Knocks'

    Bucs

    We're back for another episode of The Annotated Hard Knocks, trying to find behind-the-scenes insights and things you might have missed in Tuesday's second episode of "Hard Knocks," following the Bucs in …

    As the crowd recognized him and got loud, Jameis Winston jumped up and down in celebration. [GREG AUMAN | Times]
  2. Review: 'The Defenders' brings out the best in Marvel's unlikeliest heroes

    Blogs

    The ties that bind Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist run deep. But they're just starting to figure all that out in The Defenders.

    Mike Colter, Scott Glenn, Finn Jones, Krysten Ritter and Charlie Cox in The Defenders.
  3. Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson can't keep 'The Hitman's Bodyguard' on-target

    Movies

    The Hitman's Bodyguard is an assault tank on semi-automatic pilot, spraying jokes and bullets with only the ammo consistently hitting its targets. The irresistible teaming of Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson might be even funnier if they missed once in a while.

    Samuel L. Jackson, left, and Ryan Reynolds star in "The Hitman's Bodyguard." (Lionsgate)
  4. Hillsborough leaders ask for patience as multiple schools still suffer from broken air conditioners

    K12

    TAMPA — Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins and his facilities chief appealed to parents Wednesday to be patient as the district works through chronic air conditioning problems — and to advocate for more state funding.

    Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins says air conditioning problems at multiple schools are a "major concern" for the district. [SKIP O'ROURKE  |  Times]
  5. Hillsborough will leave Confederate monument up if it can't get private money to move it

    Local Government

    TAMPA — If the money needed to move Tampa's Confederate monument can't be raised privately in 30 days, then the monument will stay where it is, Hillsborough County Commissioners decided Wednesday.

    The Hillsborough County Commission voted last month to move the Memoria in Aeterna Confederate monument from the old county courthouse to a private family cemetery. CHRIS URSO   |   Times