After Monday night’s Main Stage show at the Appalachian Fair in Gray, Tenn., I thought I had written my most flattering review for our 2011 event. And, I’ll have to admit, I really thought I had just watched what was going to be the best show of our 2011 Fair season. It was Jerrod Neimann’s night at our local fair, and he did a fantastic job. I don’t just mean with the show – I mean with the way he treated his fans, too.
I keep getting more and more impressed with today’s new country artists. Last night, it was Frankie Ballard who stepped out on the Main Stage, and absolutely amazed me. To those of you who are from the Northeast Tennessee or Southwest Virginia area, and did not go to that show – all I can say is that you have no idea what you missed! Frankie is a well-rounded entertainer. His music goes so much farther than “Tell Me You Get Lonely,” and “A Buncha Girls.” It was definitely a show you should not have missed.
Unfortunately, the audience for this show was small. But that didn’t make one bit of difference to Frankie. He was there to perform – and perform he did! He played to the crowd of approximately 1,200 people as if he were playing to 12,000. He did his songs, some I could call country-rock (leaning mostly toward rock); and some of the older music that helped mold country into what it is today (The Gambler, Modern Day Bonnie & Clyde, and Mamas Don’t Let your Baby’s Grow up to be Cowboys, to name a few). About that ‘rock’ part. While that is more for the younger fans than for me, I really admire this kid’s talent. I think the next time Keith Urban and Brad Paisley decide to jam, they need to get Frankie in there, too. I bet he could keep up with them both very well.
He worked the stage like a seasoned professional. Actually, he worked on and off the stage like a seasoned professional. Frankie jumped off the stage at one point, and ran through the aisles, singing to his audience from among them, and getting a few hugs along the route. I know many of our artists have satellite stages, but I think it’s totally cool to see an artist do a little of his show while walking through the audience.
Like Jerrod the night before, Frankie let all of his fans know that we were the reason he was there. He did an on-air radio interview, with WXBQ’s Marc Tragler, after his sound check; he talked to fans for a while; he did a meet and greet before the show; and after the show he stayed until everyone who wanted an autograph got one. And that is just nice.
While Frankie did a super acoustic segment while his band took a short break, his talented group of musicians definitely helped Frankie bring us a top-notch show. Eddie Robinson is on lead guitar and vocals; Joe Dunne, bass; Glen Mitchell, from London, England was on banjo, acoustic guitar and vocals; and Ben Jackson, drums, is from right here in my back yard – Johnson City, Tenn.
A few more pictures for all of you. Some of the band, some of the meet & greet, you can’t help but notice Frankie has a great sense of humor. Enjoy!
Thanks, Frankie – for singing “Place to Lay Your Head,” because I requested it. Thanks for being the kind of person anyone would be honored to meet. And thank you for a fantastic second night at our Appalachian Fair! You can follow Frankie on Twitter, too – @FrankieBallard.
I hope you enjoy your Wednesday – for those of you I owe e-mail to – I’ll get to that just as quickly as I can! You know how busy Fair weeks are for me.