Ten months after playing his first Number One single, “Helluva Life,” during an episode of Conan, Frankie Ballard hit the late-night talk show circuit again last night. Armed with a four-piece road band, he ripped into his second chart-topper, “Sunshine & Whiskey,” kicking off the New Year with twin shots of guitar-fueled country twang and low-simmering soul. [Watch the performance above.]
It was Ballard’s first public appearance since December 20th, when the Michigan-born musician returned to Kalamazoo for his annual hometown holiday show. Later this month, he’ll join Florida Georgia Line’s Anything Goes tour, serving as the opening act for a string of arena gigs that stretch from mid-January to late-June. For Ballard — a multi-instrumentalist who doubles as his band’s lead guitarist — hitting the road is a chance to show off the fretwork that helps differentiate him from the rest of the pack.
Speaking of guitar chops, “Sunshine & Whiskey” was co-written by Cadillac Three lead singer Jaren Johnston, whose own band is also gearing up for a gig-heavy year. Meanwhile, Luke Laird, the song’s remaining writer, is knee-deep in recording sessions for Kacey Musgraves’ second album, which is due out later this year.