Frankie Ballard Promises a ‘Helluva’ Time at Pappy K’s
“Man, it’s cool to see my name up there at the top of that chart — I felt like a kid again!” Ballard said in a recent telephone interview. “It’s so cool to see ‘Helluva Life’ take off, and now I’m so excited because people are interested in the rest of the story. People are going to learn a lot about me when they listen to the whole thing.”
The rest of the story is on his second album, Sunshine & Whiskey, which will be in heavy rotation on Thursday night when Ballard and his band take the stage at Pappy K’s (formerly Buck Wild’s Rode House in Mechanicsburg).
“I spent a couple years trying to make honest music and trying to make the best music I possibly could — and I really feel like I accomplished at least that and then its up to the people,” Ballard said. “You send it out there and hope for the best. It’s hard work to get in that playlist that people have on their radio stations.”
In “Helluva Life,” Ballard sings that the bad times make the good times better — and even though he’s at the top now, it was not an easy ride when his self-titled debut album did not perform as well as he had hoped.
“Those things taught me that it’s not a gimme — you’ve got to work hard but you have to put out music that people really care about. You’ve got to bring great music, man,” Ballard added. “I was humbled by the fact that the first record didn’t really do that well and it’s kept me hungry. Yeah, “Helluva Life” went number one but I can still hear those wolves howling at the door. Bad times make the good times better for sure — make me stronger, give you more wisdom. I’m thankful for that and I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Ballard’s latest single off the new record, the title track “Sunshine & Whiskey” is currently climbing up the charts. And while both singles have been great songs — one of the strongest tracks on the new album is the only one written by Ballard — the country rocker “It Don’t Take Much.”
“That’s sonically where I’m headed, where my head is at and the songwriting aspect of it. I think it’s a really good statement piece of who Frankie Ballard really is,” Ballard added. “That’s a song I’m really proud of — it shows some of my midwestern rock and roll influences.”
“I was so blown away that I got to do that — he’s one of my musical heroes and just one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met,” Ballard said. “It was like two worlds coming together and it was so cool of him to take a fellow Michigan boy out to open some shows for him.”
The Seger tour — which took Ballard to venues as big as Madison Square Garden — gave Ballard a taste of, as he put it, “supper at the big table” and a glimpse of what it feels like to have fans singing along to every song. And with the soaring popularity of “Helluva Life” and now “Sunshine & Whiskey,” Ballard is seeing that more and more at his own shows and that’s something he does not take for granted.
“It’s everything. It’s why you start playing guitar and it’s why you write a song because the dream that someday your music will make a difference, your music will matter, your music will be requested — so it’s everything,” Ballard said. “I’m just so blessed, man, and I’m so humbled by that, I really am.”
Tickets for Thursday’s concert at Pappy K’s Alehouse & Big Deck in Mechanicsburg are only $20 and are still available online — and Ballard promises to bring a great show.
“I’m looking forward to coming back. It was a great time the first time around, and we’re ready to bring the heat again!” Ballard said. “I just want people to know that we are really going to give them a great show and I can’t wait to see them. It will be entertaining, it will be high energy and I just hope everyone crams in there so we can have a blast!
Doors open at 8 and the show starts at 9 with local favorite Ben Gallaher.