Frankie Ballard – Tickets – College Street Music Hall. – New Haven, CT – April 14th, 2017

Frankie Ballard

Premier Concerts Presents:

Frankie Ballard

Levi Hummon

Fri, April 14, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$20.00 - $25.00

This event is all ages

This event is General Admission Standing Room on the Floor. There will be limited first-come, first-served seating available in the back of the room, but seating is not guaranteed.

Frankie Ballard
Frankie Ballard
When Frankie Ballard was growing up in Battle Creek, Michigan, his father played him one classic album over and over again: Marty Robbins' Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, featuring Robbins' signature hit "El Paso." Now Ballard, a quick-draw guitarist and rough-hewn singer, has cut his own metaphorical gunfighter album, decamping from Nashville to a gritty El Paso studio to record the follow-up to his 2014 breakout Sunshine & Whiskey.

For Ballard, who scored three consecutive Number One singles off Sunshine & Whiskey - "Helluva Life," the title track and "Young & Crazy" - it was imperative that he leave behind the safety of Nashville for the wilds of the Mexico border. Setting up shop at the famed Sonic Ranch, just south of El Paso in Tornillo, Texas, Ballard, producer Marshall Altman (Sunshine & Whiskey) and his band threw themselves headlong into the music, eating and sleeping at the studio. Their goal: make a bona fide album.

"I grew up listening to albums and I loved them as bodies of work," says Ballard. "But today, everyone cuts singles. Even Sunshine & Whiskey was recorded in chunks. We'd go into one studio, cut four, then go into another studio and cut another four. It's groovus interruptus, man."

To keep that groove steady, Ballard went on the lam, leaving Nashville for a few days of bare-bones rehearsals at ground zero for rock & roll and soul, Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama. From there, he continued on to the Granada Theater in Dallas for another workshop session, before arriving at the Sonic Ranch, locked and loaded.

"I spur myself sometimes, like getting a metal cleat kicked into your ass so you can go harder. I do that to myself," says Ballard of the grueling road trip to El Paso. "It's as far away as you can get. I was trying to get my blood moving."

The change of scenery worked. Ballard has created an urgent, thriving record, a project that showcases Frankie the artist. It's the type of album his heroes like Bob Seger and the Rolling Stones made, a collection of 11 songs with a sonic through-line, driven along by swagger but also respect for the music. First single "It All Started With a Beer" is buoyed by equal parts nostalgia and hope.

"On the surface, it's a love story about two folks meeting in a bar and having a beer. From there, the relationship blossomed into something long lasting and now they're looking back, going, 'Man, look at this great relationship we got, and it started so simply, with just a beer.' So many people can relate to the idea," Ballard says. "But also, one of the deeper meanings of that song is sometimes the biggest shit that happens to you in life doesn't start in a big way. That makes me hopeful for the future."

The hard-charging "Cigarette," meanwhile, is unapologetically carnal. With a dirty guitar riff and winking lyrics to match, it's an explosive bit of country-rock, and the first song Ballard worked up at Muscle Shoals.

"It's about lust," says Ballard matter-of-factly. "It's not really about cigarettes. She could have had a toothpick in her mouth. It's just sexy, and it pops. It's a head-snapper."

The crunching "El Camino," however, sets the tone for the entire album. With its escapist message of hitting the road, it mirrors Ballard's own exodus from Nashville. "So get me a dog and an El Camino/roll a couple dice at the Indian casino/take this heartache somewhere you've never been before," he sings in the chorus.

"It is a really definitive song for me, and illustrates the sonic space that I'm trying to establish with this album," he says. "If somebody asked, 'Hey, what is this new Frankie Ballard sound?' 'El Camino' would be the song I played them."

"Sweet Time," one of two songs Ballard wrote for the project, celebrates the joys of taking it slow, in both life and romance, while "Wasting Time," although similar in title, is its antithesis: a straight-up rocker. "It is a ripping take," raves Ballard, pointing out the galloping drums that showcase a band in the pocket.

Ballard also emphasizes the rock on a choice cover: his balls-out version of Seger's "You'll Accomp'ny Me." Recorded at one additional session in Los Angeles, where Ballard, ever the perfectionist, revamped two songs he says "betrayed" him in El Paso, the cover song connects the dots of Ballard's career - Seger once hand-picked him to open his tour.

If Ballard has an endgame, it's the longevity of someone like Seger, a career that continues well into the future and transcends any genre. And returns actual, honest playing to the fore.

"I miss musicianship on the radio. Everyone is doing this digital thing and they're putting all these pop sounds into country music, and I love it. I dance to it at the club. But I don't do that personally. I don't even have a computer," says Ballard, going on to lay out his plan for country music dominance.

"There is something you have to fundamentally understand about me: my dream goes the whole way. It goes all the way. So I want more people hearing my music," he says. "So what are you going to do, Frankie? Well, I guess I'm going to try to make some better music. And if it's not better than what I did before, there's no reason for it to come out. I don't want to maintain altitude - I want to fly, man."
Levi Hummon
Levi Hummon
Born & raised in Nashville TN, Levi Hummon naturally has songwriting in his blood. Originally expressing his talent via visual art, Levi took an early interest in painting, which he studied at college in St. Petersburg, FL. It was in St. Pete that Levi’s musical talents first revealed themselves. At the close of a significant relationship, he was drawn to writing songs – songs of his life and relationships. It wasn’t long before Levi realized his need to move back home to cultivate his songwriting craft; so back to Nashville he went.

Levi began to make his imprint on the Nashville community through regular co-writes with his father, Marcus Hummon (Grammy Award winning songwriter), and a regular rotation of writers who would join them. Levi loved relating to a listener through the stories he could craft. It wasn’t long before word spread of Levi’s talents, and he found himself writing with the greats such as 2014 ACM Songwriter of the Year Shane MacAnally, Andrew Dorff, Josh Osborne, Jonathan Singleton, Nathan Barlowe Brandy Clark, Trevor Rosen among others, and of course, Marcus Hummon. Learning to always bring in his own ideas and point of view to a writing session, Levi quickly streamlined his unique style. “You’re letting someone into your world which is really vulnerable,” says Levi. “I write from a reflective & personal place and ultimately I couldn’t see anyone else singing these songs.”

As a member of a multi-generational music family, Levi Hummon certainly appreciates his roots. While Levi is very much his own person & artist, he strongly values giving credit where it is due – and he finds himself fortunate to have his family be part of his journey. In addition to his father’s musical foundation, Levi draws inspiration from his mother, Becca Stevens, who founded the socially conscious & philanthropic organization, Thistle Farms (a residential program and social enterprise made up of women who have survived prostitution, trafficking, and addiction). This became a natural place for Levi to become involved where he further witnessed how music can provide a healing effect to those whom have suffered tremendously. “Thistle farms has always been a family to me,” says Levi. “There is so much knowledge to gain from spending time with the women. It makes me want to always forgive, never take anything for granted, and love everyone.”

Continuing to develop his personal sound, Levi found himself in great company while in Nashville. Marcus and Becca casually had their friend and Hall of Fame Songwriter, Desmond Child over for dinner, where Levi played a few songs. Desmond’s reaction was profound and immediate – he insisted on working with Levi. Soon after, Levi’s tune “Make it Love,” was featured in Child’s film, Two: The Story of Roman & Nero, which appeared on the short list of nominations for the Oscar’s “Best Original Song”. That was just the beginning for Levi. With overwhelming support from Nashville’s music community, Levi signed with Fletcher Foster’s new management and entertainment company, Iconic Entertainment Group.

Levi has recently signed with The Valory Music Co (Big Machine Record Label) artist roster, which includes Reba, Justin Moore, Brantley Gilbert, Thomas Rhett, The Mavericks & RaeLynn. “As our Country format ebbs and flows, it’s always so important from an A&R perspective to look past what’s happening now and make some moves on the future direction,” said BMLG President & CEO Scott Borchetta. “Levi’s unique vision and incredible artistry is exactly the kind of musical move we want to make now. This is a very significant artist signing.” Levi Hummon is currently writing and recording for his first full-length album.
Venue Information:
College Street Music Hall.
238 College Street
New Haven, CT, 06510
http://www.collegestreetmusichall.com

Parking Information