This week, Frankie Ballard has the Number One song on Billboard's Country Airplay chart with "Sunshine & Whiskey," the title track from his second album, which also contains his first chart-topper, "Helluva Life." The singer-guitarist's self-titled 2011 debut, however, didn't fare as well, with its two singles unable to crack the Top 20. Ballard credits a total immersion in the recording process for Sunshine & Whiskey with helping the LP over the hump.
"I poured as much of myself into this album as I could. I played as many instruments as I could, and wrenched and wrenched. I experimented and I think it came out sounding like me. Which thankfully is something that people want to hear," Ballard recently told Rolling Stone Country. "I'm going to keep doing exactly what I'm doing."
The hard work has paid off with more than just chart success though. Ballard enjoyed the spoils of his rising career during the video shoot for "Sunshine & Whiskey," filmed in a recreated border town in California.
"The obvious thing [for that song's video] was to go to the beach, and I didn't want to do the obvious thing. I wanted to have the emotion of the song, but in a different way. So the desert, the Southwest, that little Mexico vibe, it fit with the song, but wasn't so obvious," he says. "And I got to drive around in a 1957 Porsche 356 Speedster and make out with a hot chick all day. What is this life I'm living? I might have some answering to do."
Next year, Ballard will hit the road with Florida Georgia Line on their headlining Anything Goes Tour. Prior to that trek, the Michigan native will play his annual hometown holiday show in Kalamazoo at the State Theatre on December 20th, and is also set to perform during the Hollywood Christmas at the Grove special, a one-hour syndicated television tree-lighting hosted by Nancy O'Dell.
In between, Ballard hopes to spend time with the new album from Bob Seger. He opened for his fellow Michigander on Seger's 2011 tour. "I preordered that sucker!" Ballard says of Ride Out. "I'm the world's biggest Bob Seger fan. He's like my Elvis."