Last night, the Highline Ballroom was hoppin' as Frankie Ballard brought his high energy show to NYC. Frankie played a little over an hour set to a full house. His gravelly voice suited for both songs that had the crowd dancing and jumping around, like "Young and Crazy" and "I'm Thinking Country," to slower songs, like his recent #1, "Helluva Life."
Frankie played many songs from his new record Sunshine and Whiskey, including the title track, as well as "Tell Me You Get Lonely." For the latter, he asked for a show of hands in the audience as to who recently experienced heartbreak. Many young ladies raised hands in the air, but only one was pulled onto the stage, sang to (with hand held) while sitting on a stool and then offered a shot....but not before Frankie made sure she was legal. In addition, he also more than adequately performed covers of "Good Hearted Woman" and John Cougar Mellencamp's "Pink Houses."
Frankie has an exceptionally charming and charismatic stage presence, you can't not like him. He's also an extremely talented guitar player and performer who made to sure work the entire stage, smiling and making eye contact with those in the front row, back and on the sides. He even bantered with the (largely female) audience, including asking one overzealous young lady who touched his thigh to "touch it again."
Nearing the end of the set, Frankie introduced his talented band, which always wins points with me, and segued right into the closing song, "Drinky Drink."
There was no encore, but Frankie did stay after to meet, sign, give out hugs and take photos with anyone and everyone who wanted them.
Bobby McGrath and The Brothers opened the show. They played a set of all original material, including the excellent "Turning Planes Around" and "Little Things Like That." Additionally, Bobby performed a well received cover of Randy Houser's "Goodnight Kiss." This was Bobby's first experience supporting a nationally known act and he and The Brothers handled it like seasoned pros. Bobby has a very natural stage presence and interacted well with the crowd. Like Frankie and his band, Bobby and his brothers genuinely seemed to be enjoying themselves on stage. They more than succeeded in getting the crowd warmed up for Frankie. Surveying the crowd throughout his set, fans were singing along, dancing and clamoring for more. These local boys definitely have a bright future ahead of them.
For more information on Frankie Ballard click here
For more information on Bobby McGrath click here
To read our interview with Bobby click here