Frankie Ballard returns to the top with “Sunshine & Whiskey” taking the #1 spot on both the Mediabase and Billboard Country Airplay Charts this week. The infectious anthem marks the singer-guitarist’s second consecutive #1 smash and has sold well over 500,000 copies to date.
“I’m so grateful to be here at the top again! We’re still celebrating ‘Helluva Life’ and now we're back... I’m feeling VERY blessed! This is what you dream of and work for and I'm so grateful to Country Radio for playing my music and the fans for supporting me,” shares Ballard.
Ballard will celebrate with fans nationwide on his first headlining trek – LIGHT ‘EM UP Tour - as part of the exclusive Live Nation Ones To Watch tour with Skype. The run stops in 19-cities through December with upcoming shows in Houston, TX (11/19), New Orleans, LA (11/20), and San Antonio, TX (11/21). Recently, ROLLING STONE joined Ballard on tour to give fans an intimate look at his road life.
Ballard is basking in the success of “Sunshine & Whiskey” after making the move to Nashville in 2009 from Battle Creek, MI, to pursue music. Drawing on his working class values, he performed every chance he could and honed in his guitar and songwriting skills. He steadily built a loyal fan base and took the time to grow as an artist and an individual. All of these experiences culminated in the release of his current album, SUNSHINE & WHISKEY, which delivered his first #1, GOLD-certified smash “Helluva Life,” debuted in the Top 5 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart and was noted as “required listening” by ROLLING STONE. Produced by Marshall Altman (Marc Broussard), the album captures Ballard’s unique blend of blues-infused, country rock and his undeniable guitar prowess on every song. Previously opening for Jake Owen, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift and longtime idol Bob Seger, the talented showman will amp it up even further next year on the Florida Georgia Line 2015 ANYTHING GOES Tour.
Ballard’s SUNSHINE & WHISKEY is now available on iTunes.
Frankie Ballard will be featured on GAC's Great American Playlist TODAY at 12PM ET, and the episode will re-air at 3PM ET. Be sure to check your local listings and tune in for the show!
Frankie Ballard's Six Rules for the Road
Frankie Ballard has opened for some of the best in the music business – Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift and, coming in 2015, Florida Georgia Line. Needless to say, he's learned a thing or two about how to survive life on a tour bus (tough gig!).
So the singer, whose new single "Sunshine and Whiskey" recently hit the top 10 on Billboard's country chart, recently shared with us a few of his tips. Thinking about pursuing a career on the road with country's finest? Then read on …
1. Stay Active
"You can get lethargic on the road. You do sound check, you wait around, and exercise isn't necessarily part of the whole scene, so you have to force it," Ballard tells PEOPLE. "I take weights and bands, but a lot of times you have to make it up as you go. I'll do push-ups on the bleachers or find a place to do pull-ups at the county fair."
2. Make Home More Like the Road
"I actually feel more at home on the road than I do in Nashville," he admits. "I feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing and I have a purpose and a schedule and in Nashville it's the opposite. At home, I surround myself with guitars and my whole bedroom is set up like a hotel – the bed, the TV and the bathroom, it all looks like a hotel."
3. Keep Fruit in the Fridge
"It's too easy not to eat well on the road. I switch it up and try to find fruit I've never had before," he explains. "I recently discovered Asian pears. They may not be that exciting for some, but it's like half apple and half pear and they're great!"
4. Develop a Pre-show Ritual
"I'm not sure how people just walk on stage and perform. I almost always listen to live music performances on the bus before the show. It can be Waylon Jennings, it could be Led Zeppelin, it could be the Everly Brothers, it can be Skynyrd. Whatever it is, I grab a guitar and I get in the mood," he says. "And right before we get on stage, I get the band together and we have a little pow-wow. We do a chant, but it's super-secret. We put our hands in the pile and it's like a call-and-response thing. It's a chance to get on the same page and then we go to battle."
5. Stay in the Game
"The main thing I've learned from Chesney and Taylor and Bob Seger, who I also toured with, is how involved they are," Ballard shares. "You assume someone that famous would fly in and out – and they've earned the right to do that – but that's completely not the case. They're so hands-on, sunup to sundown. If things aren't right, they jump in and make it right. They all work so hard and it's really inspiring to see people at the top of their game still doing that."
6. Know Your Audience
"I don't know if I'll ever again be screamed at like I was when I was on the Taylor tour. It's like I was the Beatles in 1966. I don't know why they were screaming at me – I didn't have any hits at the time. Maybe they just thought I knew Taylor and that I touched her, so they let me into the scream fest. I think Florida Georgia Line will have a similar crowd to Taylor's. It won't be a quiet, sit-down, listening crowd. People will be amped up and it will be amazing."
Check out this behind-the-scenes video for Ballard's hit "Sunshine and Whiskey":