Frankie Ballard fans are anticipating the release of his new Sunshine & Whiskey album next month, but reveals there's a "golden nugget" or two tucked away in the album's 11 tracks.
Ballard and his producer Marshall Altman included a country classic from over 20 years ago, "Don't Tell Mama I Was Drinking" as part of the collection of new songs. The tune has been covered dozens of times by other acts including Ty Herndon and Gary Allan, in a slow, melancholy way. But Ballard puts his own spin on the tune that makes it almost the standout track on the album.
"The worktape of this song is this really country, acoustic worktape demo thing and it sounds nothing like what I do," notes Ballard. "A couple of people have cut it, but it’s never been a single. I was in my publishers office, and he was playing me songs that had never been singles … just his favorite back catalog songs that have never been singles. He played me a lot of stuff, and he played me that one, and I thought it was such an incredible song. I couldn’t believe it wasn’t a George Jones hit in 1989 or whatever.
"This was about five years ago," continues Ballard. "So I just took it with me, and over the years continued to listen to it. One night I played it for Marshall, just as a guy saying, ‘Hey, you’ve gotta here this song!’ He said let’s try to do that. I knew that the label wouldn’t want me to do this super country ballad. It was kind of slow. He said, ‘Dude, we’ll make it our own! We always do!’ So we started working on it and sped it up, so now it’s kind of got this Kid Rock vibe to it at times. It became what I do. It was like the other songs threw their arms around it one and dragged it in [laughs]. It’s the last song on the album, and it’s so cool. I’m so happy that it’s on there. People will buy the album for ‘Helluva Life,’ and discover a lot of these little golden nuggets along the way that I think they are going to love."
This week, Ballard's current single "Helluva Life" breaks into the Top 15. Look for Sunshine & Whiskey to hit stores onFebruary 11.