Rick Hall is a self-taught player of the hammer dulcimer. He fell in love with Irish music and the hammer dulcimer in 1976 when he first heard Guy Carawan at the Jubilee Festival at the Laurel Theater in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Laurel Theater was, and continues to be a source of inspiration for his interest in Irish, Old Time, and regional music. It was where he gained early inspiration and tuition from Guy and Candie, and their son Evan Carawan along with John McCutcheon, and Malcolm Dalglish. Today, he plays a Dalglish hammer dulcimer which was crafted about the year Rick first began playing.
In 1985, he was playing at Silver Dollar City theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It was rumored that Dolly Parton was buying Silver Dollar City and might be there for the announcement. While Rick was performing on the front entrance stage, Dolly, along with her entourage walked by in front of the stage. Knowing that she was disrupting the performance she looked at him apologetically and mouthed the words, "I'm so sorry!" She was indeed there that day working out a deal to acquire the park which eventually came to be known as Dollywood. Some 22 years later, he was playing there again along with Four Leaf Peat in the Irish village for the Festival of Nations in 2007 and 2008.
The same year he heard the hammer dulcimer, he also first heard and became enamored of the Irish uilleann bagpipes on a recording of Seamus Ennis. Due to the scarcity of the instrument, it would be decades later before he first acquired a set and began to learn how to play them. He continues to learn from players such as Kieran O'Hare, David Power, Mick O'Brien, Cillian Vallely, and Paddy Keenan.
Rick was a pillar of the Knoxville Irish music session for many years, helping to keep it going through several different venues as well as hosting monthly house sessions. It was out of this environment that the members of Four Leaf Peat came together.