Singer/Songwriter Chad Ball has never been quick to saddle his style with a specific genre label, and why would he after his first three albums - best described as genuine blends of folk, blues, rock, and country. Ball's upbringing in the rugged mountains of Northwest Montana only add to the songwriting approach he has been refining for the past decade. After joining the band 'Late Nite Radio' in the Summer of 2005 with bassist Rob McClain, drummer Corey Curran, and guitarist Corey Benstgon, Ball began writing and gigging consistently with the group. Benstgon was replace with guitarist and singer Johnny Montoya and shorty after, the deput album Loose Change
The album is littered with backroad folktales, which Ball would deliver through textured melodies and complex, but rhythmic, acoustic patterns. In Loose Change
, he lets his Americana influence shine through in the title track and the rowdy "Throwin' Shoes", where his range of guitar chops is on full display. But the transition from thick country-rock songs like those to the warm acoustic grooves like "Borderline" and "Aquarium Home" was effortless. Then, in July of 2011, 'Late Nite Radio' and hundreds of other friends and family were abrubtly shaken by the tragic death of Curran. This event, later inspired the song "Getting Out of Town" on Ball's second release, Corduroy Man
. Curran was replaced by drummer, Logan Dudding and the band continued on for a short period of time before disbanding in the spring of 2013.
Ball began writing again, incorporating the melodies and finger picking acoustic patterns of his roots and placing the electric rock n' roll - americana on the shelf for the time being. If the addictive Loose Change album was the first leg in Ball's artistic journey, then the 2013 release, Corduroy Man puts you riding shotgun for a more refined, confident second lap. The outlaw country influence didn't go anywhere, as evidenced by the adventures in "Little City Band" and "Fire in the Hole". But it is the collection of acoustic tunes - with the vocal magnetism of old Croce and Taylor numbers - that put Corduroy Man on another level. The title track, along with "Gettin' Out of Town", and the Croce tribute "Ray and a Waiter" all beg to be added to even the most diverse of playlists. But it is a cover of Epic recording artist Charley Packard's, "Give Me an Old Gal" that makes the album truely unique.
Now, with the recently released, Two Trips To Bellingham album, Ball has honed in on a musical direction that is polished and distinct. Yet his exploration as an artist is far from over, as are the Big Sky-living experiences that have shaped his songwriting thus far. Look for Ball to continue to keep Southwest Montana plugged into his folk rock sound with a scattering of live shows featuring tunes from both albums and some unique covers.