Frankie Ballard, "Frankie Ballard"

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Opening for Bob Seger during a recent Nashville show, newcomer Frankie Ballard demonstrated a seasoned country-rock swagger that earned enthusiastic audience response not generally afforded an opening act. This self-titled debut captures the energy and charisma of Ballard's live show. A Battle Creek, Mich., native with a soulful voice and a bluesy edge, Ballard is also opening for Taylor Swift on the North American leg of her current Speak Now tour. The song "Tell Me You Get Lonely" is a well-crafted tune about a failed romance and a guy hoping his ex hasn't really moved on. And the single "A Buncha Girls" is a slice of fun penned by Ballard, Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip and Dallas Davidson. Elsewhere, the track "Sober Me Up" is a honky-tonk plea for a good woman's love to change a wayward man. Far from being a nostalgic ode, "Grandpa's Farm" is a funky uptempo tune about a guy looking forward to a girl's visit to her grandfather's farm. This album is laced with a sense of good-natured fun and anchored by Ballard's impressive voice. It's an auspicious debut from one of the country format's hardest-working young talents.