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Interview With David Ball
By Estella Pan, CountryInterviewsOnline
(more articles from this author)
2003-07-24
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[Country Interviews Online] At what point in your life did you know you wanted to be a country singer?

David Ball Well, Iíve always felt like I would be a musician. I kind of got involved in playing music when I was in the fourth grade, around 9 or 10 years old. Iíve always felt comfortable with it and enjoyed it.

[Country Interviews Online] When did you learn how to play the guitar?

David Ball When I was 10 years old.

[Country Interviews Online] Do you play any other musical instruments?

David Ball Yeah, a little bit. If Iím going to sit in a room with my guitar for four or five hours, Iím going to write a song Ė thatís just what I do. But, I play the bass fiddle; I played that all through high school. I was in a band at the time, kind of a folk group, called Uncle Waltís Band.

[Country Interviews Online] Growing up, who were some of your favorite artists, country or non-country?

David Ball Some of the older music I grew up listening to, I donít even remember who they were. Just my parents and my older brotherís records. But, I definitely remember Elvis; he just made such a big impact. Shoot, I was 5 or 6 then. That sort of grew into Ė if anybody had a good song, then thatís what I was in to Ė as opposed to certain artists and genres. When I got on into high school, I started refining and honing what it was I was interested in. I got real involved in the roots/folk music and came up that way. That took me to Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family Ė then, I started going backwards and listening to country music from what they call ďThe Golden EraĒ of the Ď50s. Iíd heard some of that, but not a lot, so I started digging into that. The heart and soul of what I do comes from that era Ė Ray Price, Lefty Frizzell, Merle Haggard, Bob Wills.

[Country Interviews Online] One of your biggest hits is ďRiding With Private Malone.Ē How did you get your hands on that song?

David Ball The guy that I was working in the studio with Ė heís a producer and he wrote ďRidiní With Private MaloneĒ along with a friend of his. We were right in the middle of recording this project, Amigo, and it just knocked me out the first time I heard it. And, itís similar to a folk song to me. It reminded me of the music I liked when I was a kid growing up. The song created a new American hero.

[Country Interviews Online] Was this song based on a true story?

David Ball Partially. These two songwriters got together and they combined personal experience and some good ole Nashville songwriting talent. Thom Shepard had this idea of a guy who buys a used car [thatís] haunted, and, thereís a note in the glove box. And, when he started talking about this idea, it made Wood Newton think about his cousin that was in Vietnam Ė the night he got back from Vietnam, he was killed in his Corvette in a car wreck in Arkansas. Itís so refreshing to hear a song and you go, ďThatís it. I wouldnít change one word.Ē

[Country Interviews Online] What about that song drew you to it?

David Ball Well, they both told me about it while they were working on it for about a month or so. Itís the lyrics Ė thatís what you have to do with that song or else you donít know what itís talking about! It sounds real, and it is! They didnít force or contrive Ė they just tell the story.

[Country Interviews Online] In recording your latest album, Amigo, what kinds of songs were you looking for, and did you find them?

David Ball I think during Amigo I found myself in the position where I could do anything I wanted to do. I slowed down and didnít work the road, stayed in town, and started writing to enjoy writing. Didnít have a record deal; I wasnít under that gun with any publishing company, where I need to have a certain number of songs turned it. Here I was with all this freedom. Five or six months later, I had about five songs that I had written or co-written that I really, really felt good about. Thatís about the time I ran into Wood, who had a studio; he and I wrote a couple things ďShe Always Talked About Mexico.Ē And, I thought Ė this is the stuff I like, the music I want to hear on the radio. Itís not a ďgimmickyĒ record; weíre not trying to compete with a Coca-Cola commercial, where itís a lot of noise and effects. [This album is] a little more organic, more musical. That was the trend; thatís what I was after. I thought maybe the country music community will embrace this sound. So, I wanted to make a real pure, simple record, but at the same time, a very Nashville record Ė by that I mean the best songs that we could get, that I could write. We took our time, and it just kind of evolved.

[Country Interviews Online] What inspired you to titled the album Amigo?

David Ball Well, it was a song and one of my favorites. It set the tone for the record and it was a different kind of song. I>Amigo is kind of a guitar and a tribute to the guitar. It has its own life!

[Country Interviews Online] What is your favorite part of what you do?

David Ball Iím a music fan. Iím especially a fan of great musicianship Ė guitar, fiddle, steel guitar players Ė and, yes, drummers, too! Ė just to be around that and hear the music, thatís where it starts. Itís the inspiration that you can bring to it and create something, so that at the end of the day, youíve got this song. Youíre not sure how it got there, itís brand new. And, the camaraderie of musicians can be a great thing Ė when youíre all in a room and working toward this same goal Ė very exciting!

[Country Interviews Online] Reader Norma wants to know: Have you ever thought about being in a movie? What kind of movie would you like to be cast in?

David Ball Theyíre making a movie of a one of my favorite books called ďSea Biscuit.Ē Itís a pretty new book, which tells the story of a racehorse. The book was just fabulous! I think itís going to be a great movie!

[Country Interviews Online] Who would you play in that movie?

David Ball I donít know! Itís got a bunch of great characters in it, so I really donít know! I think maybe the trainer of the horse Ė thatís going to be a big role! They need to get Richard Gere to do that part. Iím not sure what that process would be like, but Iím really looking forward to the movie.

[Country Interviews Online] What is something interesting about you that your fans may or may not know?

David Ball I love golf!

[Country Interviews Online] Reader Chris asks: Is there any chance of recording a live album soon?

David Ball Iíve been thinking about that for a long time about a record with just me and the guitar Ė very sparse, songwriter record. But, it depends. Who says I canít do both? I would love to do a live album.

For more information about Country artist/songwriter David Ball, visit www.davidball.com


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