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Frankie Ballard (Warner, 2011)

Frankie Ballard

Reviewed by Sam Gazdziak

As country music's latest "triple threat" (singer/songwriter/guitarist), Michigan native Frankie Ballard puts a blues/soul spin on his country music, and that resulted in a video hit with Tell Me You Get Lonely. While his major-label debut EP does play to his strengths on some songs, all too often he ends up getting lost in the already-crowded batch of new wannabe country stars.

A good example of the best and worst of the album are in Ballard's two singles to date. Tell Me You Get Lonely is a soulful country-pop gem about a finished relationship where neither party seems willing to let go. On the other hand, A Buncha Girls is a typical "women are awesome" party song that's inoffensive enough, but it's so lightweight that it's already forgotten 30 seconds after it's over.

Ballard shines on a few other tracks, notably Sober Me Up and Rescue Me, which show off his strong vocals. However, Ballard's debut album suffers from too many good-time anthems that do nothing to help him stand out. Single Again and Grandpa's Farm sound like leftovers from a Tim McGraw or Toby Keith session.

Ballard's debut album shows he has the vocal ability to stick in country music. He just needs a better batch of songs.

CDs by Frankie Ballard

EI Rio, 2016 Sunshine and Whiskey, 2014 Frankie Ballard, 2011

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