Official Website of Nashville Recording Artist: David Ball

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David Ball Remembers JFK, Performs at Kennedy Center

Posted by Scott Metko on August 1, 2017 at 9:15 PM Comments comments (0)

By Dan Armonaitis

Arts & Entertainment Writer

Posted May 24, 2017 at 10:53 AM

Country music star David Ball was 10 years old and a student at Pine Street Elementary School in Spartanburg when, on Nov. 22, 1963, he and his classmates received the news that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas.

“School had just ended and, gosh, I remember a kid came in and said, ‘President Kennedy has been shot,’” Ball recalled earlier this week by phone from his home outside Nashville, Tenn. “It kind of shocked us all then, but when you’re that young I don’t think you realize you’re going to always remember that. It was, of course, such a terrible thing to happen.”

I reached out to Ball after learning that he was scheduled to perform this week on the Millennium Stage at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., as part of a series of events in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of President Kennedy, who was born May 29, 1917.

“Everybody loved John Kennedy,” Ball said. “What a charismatic guy and what a great president. He was fantastic, so it’s a privilege to go up there (to the Kennedy Center) and celebrate what would have been his 100th birthday.”

Ball said his hourlong performance, which will be presented at 6 p.m. Wednesday in collaboration with JFK Centennial Week and live streamed online at, would feature such favorites as his 1993 honky-tonk classic, “Thinkin’ Problem,” and the 2001 hit, “Riding with Private Malone.” The latter, written by Wood Newton and Thom Shepherd, should be particularly poignant given its heart-wrenching storyline involving a deceased solider and the fact that Memorial Day is just around the corner.

“I’ve always been one of those guys who’s all about ‘the song,’ and ‘Private Malone’ certainly ranks right up there with some of the classics,” Ball said. “It’s a great country song but it’s also got other things going on in it. It’s really a tribute to the guys who fought in Vietnam.”

Ball is a spokesperson for Operation Troop Aid, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide care packages for deployed U.S. service members. Last year, he was presented with the Operation Troop Aid Chris Kyle “Patriot Award” in recognition of his support of the organization.

Along with the late Walter Hyatt and the late Champ Hood, Ball was a founding member the seminal acoustic outfit Uncle Walt’s Band, which originally formed in Spartanburg in the early 1970s.

Champ’s son, fiddle virtuoso Warren Hood, is slated to be among those accompanying Ball for the Kennedy Center performance.

“I thought it would be something that Warren would like to be part of,” Ball said. “I know he’ll fit right in.”

The last time Ball performed at the prestigious venue was in 1997 when he was among those celebrating the music of Bob Dylan, who was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient that year along with actress Lauren Bacall, actor Charlton Heston, opera singer Jessye Norman and ballet dancer Edward Viella.

“Oh man, it was kind of unreal,” Ball said of the experience. “I’m a movie buff, especially the old ’40s and ’50s films, so to get to see Lauren Bacall, that was such a treat. And I got to talk to Gregory Peck for a long time backstage. And Joanne Woodward was there, and I even got to talk to Walter Cronkite.”

Ball sang “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” that evening as Dylan watched from a box seat near President Bill Clinton.

“I remember seeing Bill Clinton up there clapping his hands,” Ball said.

Ball said he also remembers having a lengthy backstage conversation that night with Bruce Springsteen, who performed a Dylan song as well.

“Springsteen and I talked forever,” Ball said. “He kept talking about Faron Young and how much he loved the country music out of the ’50s and ’60s, which is kind of my bag too.”

Ironically, Ball’s return to the Kennedy Center occurred on Dylan’s 76th birthday.

“Oh, is that right?” Ball said when I informed him. “We’ll have to do him a song.”

Operation Troop Aid Honors David Ball

Posted by Scott Metko on January 13, 2017 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Written by Jessica Nicholson • December 22, 2016

Published in Music Row magazine

David Ball was recently honored by Operation Troop Aid and presented with the 2016 Operation Troop Aid Chris Kyle “Patriot Award.”

Recognized for his unwavering and impassioned support of, and contributions to, the United States Armed Forces and their families, the Grammy Award winning country music recording artist was formally honored at his annual Christmas show, which was held on Dec. 16 at Puckett’s Grocery in Franklin, Tennessee.

“In several years over, David and his band have dedicated their time and talents to perform at numerous shows for the benefit of Troop Aid, raising crucial funding needed to send care packages to our troops,” said Operation Troop Aid Founder Mark Woods. “David’s artistry, legacy of family and Spirit of Patriotism is exactly the reason this award exists.”

“These young men and women work so hard for us; we want them to know we’re thinking about them. I am very honored to represent this award,” said Ball.

Grammy Winner David Ball Swings Back Into Weirsdale

Posted by Scott Metko on October 4, 2015 at 5:45 PM Comments comments (2)

Grammy winner David Ball swings back into Weirsdale

By Rick Allen

Staff writer

Published: Wednesday, September 30, 2015 at 3:34 p.m.


Grammy Award-winning country artist David Ball returns to the Orange Blossom Opry in Weirsdale Friday with his smooth style that has been described as “simple and sophisticated; jazzy, swingy, bluesy with a touch of Tex-Mex and a little Latin flavor.”


As far as Ball is concerned, it’s all about the melody. “I’m out there standing all alone waving the torch for melody,” he said by phone last week from his home in Nashville – where, he said, he was watching his brood of Guinea fowl out his window as he talked.


Ball’s concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the opry house in Weirsdale, near the intersection of County Road 25 and State Road 42. The concert benefits Operation Troop Aid, one of Ball’s favorite initiatives, which assembles care packages to send to U.S. soldiers overseas.


Ball performed at the Orange Blossom Opry three years ago. “What a great little spot this is,” he recalled. “It fits us to a ‘T.’ It’s a small concert; it’s all about the music, not a lot of stuff going on that’s a distraction.


“The people here, they want to sit and listen. You can't ask for better than that.”


Born in South Carolina, Ball said “musically, I grew up in Texas. I moved there when I was 19, stayed there for 11 years and then moved to Nashville.”


“As a kid I liked older music. In high school I listened to the music from the ‘50s all the time – some of my favorite records were George Jones and Webb Pierce. Bob Wills was a big influence, too.


“I’m a big ‘50s fan, whether rockabilly, country stuff, even the jazz standards,” he added. “I just enjoy that era. But I’m a product of the ‘90s. They used to introduce me as the man who’s gonna set country music back 50 years, until the record label had them stop. There’s just something about that music then. I never get tired of it.”


And that's a goal of the opry, said Suzanne Morgan, venue general manager and lead singer with the opry's house band. "We welcome the new, but we're trying to keep the old traditional country music alive."


"The guys in our house band just adore him," she said of Ball. "He's just an all-around great guy with a lot of accomplishments. We're excited about him coming back."


Ball said he went to Nashville with one goal in mind: “I wanted a big hit record that stood out from everything else, that was me.”


It didn’t take long. The title track from his debut “Thinkin’ Problem” hit No. 2 on the Billboard Country chart and No. 40 and the Billboard Hot 100. The album went platinum. “Once I’d done that, well that was my goal. But I stuck it out in Nashville. I came to Nashville at a good time, and I came on a contract. I really didn’t have to work getting all that in place; that just kind of happened real quick.


“After some real quick success, it was kind of hard to maintain that,” Ball added. “My success was kind of a surprise, caught a lot of people off guard.”


So he just started having fun with his music.


He has had 14 singles in the Billboard charts over his career – including “Riding With Private Malone,” a 2001 song that peaked at No. 2 and is one of a few independently distributed songs to make it into the Country Top 5.


“Private Malone” is a moving ballad about a retired GI who buys a 1966 Corvette. In the glove compartment he finds a note written by the car’s previous owner, Pvt. Andrew Malone who served in Vietnam. “If you’re reading this, then I didn’t make it home,” the note reads.


"One of the reasons David wanted to record 'Riding With Private Malone' was because he didn't think the Vietnam vets got a fair shake when they returned home," said his manager, Scott Metko.


Ball adopted Operation Troop Aid, Metko added, "because it's one of the few military charities that serves our active-duty men and women and lets them know they are not forgotten."


Ball won a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album in 2005 as one of several artists on “Beautiful Dreamer – The Songs of Stephen Foster.” Ball’s contribution was “Old Folks at Home,” sometimes also known as “Suwannee River.”


That song just happens to be Florida’s official state song, and the Orange Blossom Opry just happens to be IN Florida. In fact, his tour bus will cross right over the Suwannee River as he approaches Weirsdale.


“Hey, that’s right,” Ball said. “We better brush that up if we’re coming to the Orange Blossom. It’s coming up pretty quick.”


Rick Allen can be reached at, 867-4154 or on Twitter @rickallen0103.


Copyright © 2015 — All rights reserved. Restricted use only.

"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.