Official Website of Nashville Recording Artist: David Ball

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"David Ball at Mercer Street Dancehall," Hill Country Sun

Posted by Scott Metko on June 25, 2015 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

David Ball at Mercer Street Dancehall


Dripping Springs, TX.  Grammy award-winning recording artist David Ball will perform at Mercer Street Dancehall on June 25th. The event is a step forward for the Dripping Springs live music venue that has become well-known over the past two-and-a-half year for showcasing local and regional talent. The performance at Mercer Street Dancehall is one of only three stops on the band's Texas tour.

Now a solo Nashville recording artist, David Ball began his professional music career in Austin as a member of the renown Uncle Walt's Band, widely acknowledged as the first Americana act. His recording of "Riding with Private Malone" climbed to #2 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in 2001 and the title track from his platinum-certified album "Thinkin' Problem" was the top selling country song of 1994. He has released seven other studio albums.

David won a Grammy Award in 1995 for his rendition of "Old Folks at Home (Swanee River)" on the compilation album Beautiful Dreamer - The Songs of Stephen Foster. In 1997, Bob Dylan invited David to join artists Jerry Garcia, Bono, Willie Nelson and others to celebrate The Songs of Jimmie Rodgers: A Tribute. Later that year, David joined Bruce Springsteen onstage at the Kennedy Center to sing a tribute to Dylan at his Kennedy Center Honors award celebration.

David's performance at Mercer Street Dancehall will raise funds for Operation Troop Aid, a favorite charity of his that sends care packages to deployed US troops. 100% of the sales of OTA merchandise that night will benefit the charity.


Since it opened just over two years ago, Mercer Street Dancehall has brought a variety of live music to Dripping Springs, including country, bluegrass, Americana, Bayou, blues and rock. It hosts live music Thursday through Saturday nights, and a Wednesday night Open Mic, which welcomes professional and hobbyist musicians to perform onstage using the hall's great sound system.


Owners Nick and Gay Dotin renovated a former barn in downtown Dripping Springs, finishing it out with old wood siding, a large wooden dancefloor, a full bar with local beers on tap, air conditioning, an outdoor patio area, a tree-shaded yard with picnic tables and "the cleanest restroom around" according to Nick.


"Mercer Street Dancehall is my favorite new hall because it feels like an old one 'cept - it's cooler. It's got good air conditioning!" says musician Doug Moreland, whose band, The Flying Armadillos, plays most Thursday nights and will open for David Ball.


"Pickin' on the Porch" features David Ball in Concert

Posted by Scott Metko on August 1, 2014 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

PEMBROKE, Ky. – The monthly Pickin’ on the Porch event at MB Roland Distillery welcomes a classic country singer to their next event this weekend.


David Ball, best known for a run of hit songs in the 90s including “Thinkin’ Problem”, “Look What Followed Me Home”, and “Riding with Private Malone” performs Saturday, August 2 at 6 p.m.


Click here to see the video for David Ball’s “Riding with Private Malone”.


Ball is still actively touring and is a favorite among fans of classic country for his unmistakable phrasing in the tradition of Merle Haggard and George Jones.


His local appearance is a big leap forward for MB Roland Distillery, which was founded in 2009 and attracts big crowds with a monthly live music event called “Pickin’ on the Porch”.


The event usually features local or regional talent, so having a nationally recognized talent (and Grammy winner) make an appearance has the folks at MB Roland bracing for a much bigger crowd. They’re recommending showing up early and car-pooling if possible due to limited parking.


Since the announcement of Ball’s appearance, MB Roland has been fielding calls from fans from Indiana, North Carolina, and several other states saying they plan on attending.


The distillery, located in Pembroke in Christian County, uses local white corn to hand make a variety of products including Kentucky Bourbon and Kentucky Pink Lemonade.

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David Ball to headline concert at Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

Posted by Scott Metko on July 13, 2014 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Posted: Thursday, July 10, 2014 6:15 pm


by Wilson Harvey, Staff Writer, Exponent Telegram


WESTON — This summer has provided an abundance of entertainment for local residents. And a show this Saturday in Weston should provide locals with plenty more.


“Seeking Asylum — A Midsummer MusicFest,” as the show is named, will feature live music from 12:30-10 p.m. at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston. And according to Bob Cline, who works for U.S. Tours and is the producer for the show, there will be something for everyone.


“We’ve got over 8 hours of live music, and we’ve got food and craft vendors,” he said. “The admission ticket includes a ticket to tour the asylum, and the haunted house will be open that night for what we’re calling ‘A Midsummer’s Night Scream.’”


Grammy-winning artist David Ball, who sang “Riding With Private Malone” and “Thinkin’ Problem,” will headline the show. Both songs reached as high as No. 2 on the Billboard Music charts, and “Private Malone” stayed 22 weeks on the chart.


“If you’re going to have a large music event, you need an artist with a big name,” Cline said. “He helps justify everything and helps show it’s a big event, not just a county fair.”


He added that he personally enjoys Ball’s music.


“I’ve always liked David’s music. He does a lot with veteran groups, and his song ‘Riding With Private Malone’ has always touched me,” Cline said.


That work with veterans is something that means a lot, in the opinion of Ball himself.


“People who serve in the military ... I got the chance to play music in Iraq, and you meet some nice people, 19-year-old guys and girls,” Ball said. “I was very impressed with their dedication to this country.”


He added that his musical style is one that draws from classical country influences, while also introducing new features.


“You know, I’m really a song man,” he said. “When I was a little kid listening to the radio, certain songs grabbed me, and others I didn’t care that much about. Most people were listening to Led Zeppelin, and I was listening to folk music. ... That’s how I started getting into country music.


“I concentrate on the songs, and that’s kind of what ‘Thinkin’ Problem’ was. Nashville has a history of making great records, and I try to focus on that.”


Part of what lured him to the “Seeking Asylum” concert is the rich historical background of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Ball said.


“Well, I understand that the building architecturally is quite something,” he said. “I love going into situations that are different and unique, as well.”


Aside from Ball, the show will feature other recognized artists, Cline said.


First will be Marteka and William Lakes, a young duo that Cline said plays a “Flatt & Scruggs style of music with a guitar and banjo.”


They will be followed by The Lilly Mountaineers, whom Cline labeled as “probably the best known bluegrass band in West Virginia.”


Then Ryan Cain and the Ables, a popular local band, will take the stage.


After that, Johnny Cochran & The Trail Blazers will perform. Cline said that Cochran has quite the musical background.


“He was George Jones’ first fiddle player,” Cline said. “In fact, he still plays background music for a lot of stars in Nashville.”


Following Cochran will be David Chaney as Elvis and then Terry Lee Goffee as Johnny Cash, and then Ball will take the stage at 8:30 p.m. for the headlining concert.


Beyond the musical entertainment, there will be plenty more to do for those who attend. The event is unique in part due to its bevy of options, Cline said.


“I think if there’s a performance you don’t like, you’ll have many options,” he said. “The tour of the asylum is very interesting. You can get a feeling for what life was like there 100 years ago. And it is physically the largest building restoration in America today, so it’s a chance to tour what it was.


“And there’s a little bit of fun thrown in with the haunted house and games like Hillbilly Horseshoes and Manic Croquet using mannequin legs,” Cline said.


There will be a kitchen and baths display, origami, booksellers, and a lot of carnival style food, Cline said. He added that the National Guard will be bringing a rock-climbing wall.


The event is one that can be enjoyed by many people, even those of young age, Cline said.


However, “this is more for someone who enjoys music and history,” he said. “But I think the kids are going to love the games, too.”


And Ball said that musically, it should be a very enjoyable event.


“My music, a big part of it is fun. I like uplifting music, like Bob Wills. His music had a big kind of smile on it, so I’m carrying on that tradition,” Ball said.

David Ball inducted into the historic Spartanburg Music Trail

Posted by Scott Metko on January 27, 2013 at 10:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Four new inductees added to Spartanburg Music Trail

By Dan Armonaitis

Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 1:58 p.m.

The Spartanburg Music Trail officially has four new inductees.

Hub City natives Marshall Chapman, the Sparkletones, David Ball and Buck Trent will be honored in 2013 after topping a poll in which the public was asked to choose from among eight nominees.

A two-sided sign representing Chapman and the Sparkletones will be installed near the corner of Liberty and St. John streets in the winter; one representing Ball and Trent will be installed in the vicinity of the George Dean Johnson Jr. College of Business and Economics next summer.

“The public has spoken, and we're excited that we now know who will be honored,” said Betsy Teter, executive director of the Hub City Writers Project, a nonprofit organization that spearheaded the trail's creation. “We're looking forward to planning events associated with both induction ceremonies.”

Nearly 2,000 people cast votes in the poll, which ran on the Herald-Journal's entertainment website,, from late September through the end of October.

“We were really pleased with the number of people who participated,” Teter said. “It's clear that Spartanburg is a town that loves its musicians.”

The Music Trail opened in 2011 with 12 inaugural inductees selected by a committee organized by the Hub City Writers Project.

Those musicians – Ira Tucker, Arthur Prysock, Clara Smith, William Walker, the Marshall Tucker Band, Pink Anderson, Johnny Blowers, Hank Garland, Champ Hood, Walter Hyatt, Don Reno and the Blue Ridge Quartet – already have signs representing them in downtown Spartanburg.

“We're one of just a small handful of communities in the entire country that honors its musicians in a public way, and it makes me proud to be a resident of Spartanburg,” Teter said.

Gospel singers Bob Beatty and Julius “June” Cheeks, along with classical musicians David Daniels and Carlos Moseley, were also nominated but didn't receive enough votes to be inducted.

“For those disappointed that their choice wasn't selected, we want to stress that we'll go through this process again next year,” Teter said. “There are no losers. The only thing we're voting on is the timing of the various ceremonies.

“I'm sure that all of the artists who were nominated will eventually get on the trail.”

About the four new Spartanburg Music Trail inductees:

*Chapman is a Nashville, Tenn.-based singer-songwriter who has released 12 critically acclaimed albums and had songs cut by such artists as Jimmy Buffett and Emmylou Harris.

*The Sparkletones, formed by four local teenagers, were a rockabilly group that appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and had a major hit in 1957 with “Black Slacks.”

*Ball is a Nashville, Tenn.-based country music singer best known for such hits as “Thinkin' Problem” and “Riding with Private Malone.”

*Trent, who still performs regularly in Branson, Mo., invented the electric banjo and worked closely with country music legends Porter Wagoner and Roy Clark in the 1960s and ‘70s.

Copyright © 2013 — All rights reserved. Restricted use only.


Panel nominates 8 legendary musicians to be added to Spartanburg Music Trail

Posted by Scott Metko on September 23, 2012 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

 Panel nominates 8 legendary musicians to be added to Spartanburg Music Trail

The Spartanburg Music Trail is about to be expanded, and the public will have a voice in choosing the next honorees.

Eight musicians representing a diverse range of styles have been nominated for inclusion on the trail, which celebrates Spartanburg's rich musical heritage through a series of downtown signs.

Starting today, votes will be tallied from a poll on the Herald-Journal's entertainment website, The poll will be active through Oct. 31. Signs representing the top two vote-getters will be installed on the trail in January, with the third and fourth added next summer.

“It's super exciting to be handing (the voting) over to the public, so that the Music Trail will truly belong to all of us,” said Betsy Teter, executive director of the Hub City Writers Project, a nonprofit organization that spearheaded the trail's creation.

The Music Trail was officially unveiled in early 2011 with 12 inaugural inductees selected by a committee organized by the Hub City Writers Project.

Nominees then were restricted to musicians who were either deceased or to bands no longer performing in their original incarnation (i.e. the Marshall Tucker Band).

“In this new phase of the trail, we'll also have the opportunity to honor worthy musicians who are alive and, in many cases, still performing,” Teter said.

The nominees are David Ball (country), the late Bob Beatty (soul-gospel), Marshall Chapman (rock 'n' roll), the late Rev. Julius “June” Cheeks (soul-gospel), David Daniels (classical), Carlos Moseley (classical), the Sparkletones (rock 'n' roll) and Buck Trent (country).

The committee that selected the eight nominees is composed of representatives from the Music Foundation of Spartanburg, Converse College's Petrie School of Music, Hub City Writers Project, Hub-Bub and the Herald-Journal.

“We considered about 20 names,” Teter said. “What was interesting is that the consensus wound up with a diverse spectrum of musicians evenly divided among four separate genres.”


Podcast with country music performer David Ball, who comes to Billy?s Barn on Saturday

Posted by Scott Metko on September 23, 2012 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Podcast with country music performer David Ball, who comes to Billy's Barn on Saturday

David Ball, who returns to the Roanoke Valley with a Billys Barn show on Saturday, is a very quotable fellow.

Singer/songwriter Ball, whose record “Thinkin’ Problem” was a multi-million seller back in the day, has since gone indie. Though he he credits his early major label success for the way he is able to conduct his career today, he no longer cares to be on that train.

“I’m just a firm believer that anytime you have anybody in Nashville trying to steer your career, that you’re in trouble,” he said. “You’re in big trouble there. It’s over.”

Hear that quote and more from Ball on this podcast. Also, we stream his latest single, “What’ll I Do.”


David Ball's Love of Music Sparkles

Posted by Scott Metko on August 23, 2012 at 10:45 PM Comments comments (0)

David Ball’s love of music sparkles

By Ryan C. Perry | Posted: Thursday, August 23, 2012 4:00 am

As the Pioneer Playboys warmed up the crowd at the Texas Players Club with a couple of songs, David Ball watched from offstage, just out of the view of capacity crowd.

As he stood with his acoustic guitar, he wasn’t just waiting for his spot to join the band on stage — he was eagerly enjoying the music.

That joy of music, whether his classic country style or not, is apparent in his recorded music and live shows. His latest release, “Sparkle City,” features some of his best work to date, and the album draws from a wide variety of sounds while not losing his distinct, folk-influenced style.

Complimenting Ball’s diverse songwriting prowess, The Pioneer Playboys displayed a mastery of several genres.

Guitarist Troy Cook Jr. is showcased as a guitar historian with his complex, yet not flashy use of the entire fretboard. With the diversity of sounds, Cook easily could lead bands featured on several radio formats.

Bass player Steve Ledford and drummer Scott Metko strike the perfect balance of showcasing talent and knowledge without drawing attention away from the songs.

The small, four-piece band is right at home in dance halls with their ability to draw people out to the floor for a two step.

And while David Ball and the Pioneer Playboys have the ability to write their own ticket, they have shucked off doing what is commercially popular to play music they love, and the love shines in their concerts and albums.

Check out this track: “What’ll I Do If I Don’t Have You?” starts with an impossibly catchy, folksy guitar piece and builds with an arrangement of vocals, strings and piano to create a song you’ll be pleased to have stuck in your head.


Lyle Lovett Speaks Highly of Uncle Walt's Band and Offspring

Posted by Scott Metko on August 18, 2012 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 1:31 by Dan Armonaitis In his 1996 song, “That’s Right (You’re Not from Texas),” legendary singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett included a verse about the members of Uncle Walt’s Band, a seminal pre-Americana group originally formed in Spartanburg.

When Lovett was starting his career, he was often asked to open for Uncle Walt’s Band, which had become a fixture on the Austin, Texas, roots music circuit in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. He never forgot how much of a boost the trio – David Ball, Champ Hood and Walter Hyatt – gave him.

Here’s an excerpt from “That’s Right (You’re Not from Texas)”:

“Those boys from Carolina, they sure enough could sing

But when they came down to Texas, we all showed them how to swing

Now David’s on the radio, and old Champ’s still on the guitar

And Uncle Walt, he’s home with Heidi, hiding in her loving arms.”

Sadly, Hyatt was killed in a 1996 plane crash not long after Lovett recorded the song and just before it was officially released. Hood died from cancer in 2001.

As the sole surviving member of Uncle Walt’s Band, the Nashville, Tenn.-based Ball has lately made some of the best music of his career, but the line “David’s on the radio” appears to be criminally outdated.

In a recent interview, Lovett – whose co-headlining acoustic tour with John Hiatt makes a stop Tuesday at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium – continued to heap praise on the members of Uncle Walt’s Band. But he didn’t stop there.

During our conversation, Lovett let it be known that he also admires the musically gifted offspring of the influential band.

“Oh my goodness, I stay in touch with Warren (Hood) all the time,” Lovett said. “I think Warren’s amazing. He sounds so much like his dad – his (singing) and the way he speaks.

“I met Warren, I guess, when he was maybe 7 (years old), in Austin. He was always a sweet little boy, and he’s just the same as he was when I first met him. He writes great songs, and he’s a wonderful musician.

“Walter’s son, Taylor (Hyatt), is playing a little bit too. I don’t think he’s playing out professionally the way Warren does, but it’s interesting. I hear about him every now and then.

“And, of course, Audrey Ball, David’s daughter, has a huge voice. She’s wonderful.”

Before our conversation ended, Lovett asked if I knew how Marshall Hood, Champ’s guitar-playing nephew, was doing. Marshall, a Spartanburg native, was notably a member of the now-defunct Belleville Outfit, which, a few years ago, made a splash on the Americana circuit from its home base in Austin.

“Is he living back in Spartanburg?” Lovett asked, not knowing about Marshall’s recent music activity in the Lone Star State.

“He’s still in Austin? Oh, cool,” Lovett said. “Well, I’ll have to look for him.”

Here’s a link to a story about Lovett (including a few comments about Uncle Walt’s Band) published today by the Herald-Journal and


David Ball to Play in Longview

Posted by Scott Metko on August 18, 2012 at 9:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Posted: Thursday, August 16, 2012 4:00 am | Updated: 11:28 am, Thu Aug 16, 2012. By Ryan C. Perry | 0 comments

Platinum-selling, Grammy-winning country artist David Ball and his band, The Pioneer Playboys, are set to perform Friday at The Texas Players Club in Longview

The opening act is David Baxter and the Iron Horse Band.

Ball, perhaps best known for hits “Thinking Problem” and “Riding With Private Malone,” is touring in support of his newest album “Sparkle City.”

“It’s some of the best songs I’ve got,” he said. “One song on there ... it’s the best song I’ve ever had. It’s called ‘What’ll I Do if I Don’t Have You.’”

The song has an old-country feel to it -- much like most of Ball’s work. He said the song was dedicated the charity Operation Troop Aid.

The charity, where Ball is an honorary board member, raises money for care packages for deployed military members and helps them pay bills once they return home. Friday’s show will benefit the charity.

“It sad to hear about things like suicide, depression funky diseases. I think a lot of that stress can be alleviated if the country shows concern for their welfare,” he said. “That’s what Operation Troop Aid is really about.”

Although he has achieved massive critical and professional success as an artist, Ball bucks current trends and creates music how he sees fit.

He said people who are fans of old-style country music have enjoyed “Sparkle City,” but without massive corporate support, it doesn’t get the same publicity of more radio-friendly new-style country albums.

“There has been no real push behind it, so we’re doing it one show at a time,” he said. “We approached it in our own way, and we’re out spreading the word. I call it ‘non-corporate country music.’ I’m really proud of this record. We had a great time recording it.”

Even at his commercial peak, Ball said he didn’t quite fit in with mainstream country radio.

“Radio has always been a struggle for me,” he said. “I was always really lucky to get in there and to get a couple of hits. The door didn’t just stay open for me. People we’re confused by ‘Thinkin’ Problem.’ I don’t know what they thought it was. To me, it was just good country music.”

Ball said his roots are from folk and old country music, and his sound proves it. His guitar work is mostly simple, well-crafted and amazingly catchy. Much like artists who inspired him when he was young, strong rhythm and lyrics drive his work.

“I was always a fan of music, as a kid and as an adult,” he said. “I’ve always been a fan, and there are a lot of people like me.”

He and his band are betting the success of “Sparkle City” on the live shows, and he is hoping the scaled back approach will gain fans of his new work.

“I know what it is like to have that big radio hit behind you when you go out to play, and it’s hard to beat as far as excitement,” he said.

Ball said he is happy in the direction he is taking with the music creation, and the less-than-commercial approach of writing, recording and touring fuels him better creatively.

“That’s all one process, and that’s the way I like to do it,” he said. “It wasn’t always that way. You have to be excited about the new song, you want the band to learn it. You want to get out there and play it in front of people. That’s what keeps us going. We have a lot of really exciting stuff. And, we still have the old hits. I’m still doing some of the same stuff I’ve always done.”

He says fans should expect an intimate, dance-worthy experience at the concert. He said one of his favorite parts of Texas audiences is that they will break out into a two-step at the show.

“We have a great band, and we love to play,” he said. “If I had to pick something, I would say I am a ballroom, live singer. I kind of worked at the song-writing thing -- that’s why I came to Nashville. I got a publishing deal, and it gave me a good long period to do nothing but write. It was fun, and I learned a lot. Then I threw that all out the window, and now I just write whatever strikes my fancy -- whatever I want to hear. I’m coming from a different place.”

“‘Sparkle City’ -- I got exactly what I wanted,” he said. “The sound was good; it was energetic. It’s very rewarding, and people like it. We haven’t made a dent with it down in Texas yet, but we take it everywhere we go.”

Ball said he also is excited about opening act, David Baxter and the Iron Horse Band.

“We were listening to some of his stuff, and it’s pretty dad-gum good,” he said.

Lyle Lovett alumni unite for Smith's Olde Bar Show

Posted by Scott Metko on February 1, 2012 at 10:15 PM Comments comments (0)

                  ALTANTA, GA – Grammy Award winner David Ball will join Atlanta’s R&B legend Francine Reed for the first time, at Smith’s Olde Bar on Saturday Feb 4th.

                  Reed is best known for her sultry vocals backing up troubadour Lyle Lovett.  Ball is a founding member of Americana pioneers, Uncle Walt’s Band.  Coming up together in the same Austin TX music scene in the 70’s, Lovett would often open shows for UWB.  Coming full circle in 2009, he reached back into Uncle Walt’s repertoire to include one of Ball’s early UWB hits, “Don’t You Think IFeel It Too” on his 2009 disc, Natural Forces.  Over the years, both men have collaborated on the other’s records, in addition to the solo recordings of UWB’s front man, Walter Hyatt.

                   Bob Dylan asked Ball to add a song to The Songs of Jimmie Rodgers – A Tribute and won a Grammy for his contribution to the 2005 collection Beautiful Dreamer-The Songs of Stephen Foster.  He was one of the first artists to take an independent release to the Country Top 5, with 2002’s “Riding With Private Malone.”

                   Reed has appeared with Miles Davis, Stanle yJordan, Smokey Robinson, Etta James, and The Crusaders.  In 1985, she began recording and touring with Lyle Lovett and His Large Band. Reed has also appeared on recordings by Delbert McClinton, Willie Nelson and Roy Orbison.

                   Ball is currently on tour in support of his ninth studio album, Sparkle City, being backed by his band, The Pioneer Playboys, the same band used on record.  The Austin Chronicle said of the album, “he glides between swing, honky-tonk, blues, and even a touch of Tex-Mex, with the ease of George Strait, the difference being Ball composes his own material.”

                  Show begins at 8.  For ticket information, contact Smith’s at 404-875-1522 or




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