Jon’s Where Are They Now? – David Ball
I was recently having a conversation with a man about the late George Jones and how no other artist has ever really sounded like that. We hear artists all the time that remind us of other artists. The one that immediately comes to mind is Easton Corbin who sounds a lot like George Strait, but there was one artist who at least reminded me of George Jones....David Ball. Ball first recorded for RCA in 1988 and had three chart singles between May of 1988 and September of 1989. All three were stiffs and he left RCA. Ball signed with Warner Brothers and in 1994 released a single that reminded everyone of George Jones, especially in the very first line of the song, Thinkin' Problem.
The first three words of the song, "Yes, I admit" harkens back to a young George Jones. Thinkin' Problem hit the charts in April of 1994 and went all the way to number two on the charts, which got a lot people talking about this artist with a very unique sound that is unmistakably country, but with a little twist and very straightforward.
Ball is one of those artists that isn't real flashy and has a very unassuming, guy next door quality to his look, but something about him just grabs your attention. When he sings, he is very genuine and sincere and you just automatically like him for some reason.
Ball did not enjoy a lot of chart success, but audiences just loved his no frills, I am what I am style. He followed up Thinkin' Problem with When The Thought Of You Catches Up With Me that went to number 7 on the charts in late 1994 and another minor hit with Look What Followed Me Home in early 1995.
In 2001, he released his final chart single, which not only went to number two, but again put him in the national spotlight. That song was Riding With Private Malone, a very touching tale about a guy who buys a vintage Corvette from the mother a fallen soldier named Private Andrew Malone.
The song ends with the new owner getting into a fiery wreck in the Corvette, with witnesses saying a soldier pulled him out of the wreckage that he believes was the ghost of Private Malone. The song gets played every Veteran's Day and 4th of July...as it should.
The comparison to Jones pretty much ends with Ball's voice, but his artistry was sorely overlooked by many in my opinion. I have interviewed David Ball several times and got to know him pretty well a few years back. The one thing that I can say for sure about him is that David Ball is as real as the day is long and his music is so worth listening to, even today. I don't use the word authentic very often, but I do where David Ball is concerned.
See the videos for his two biggest hits below.