Matthew Ballard
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Matthew Ballard

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Simple and straightforward melodic country pop. Matthew Ballard has a sound and style that could easily appeal to millions of listeners. His smooth, melodic guitar pop flows by comfortably...without unnecessary ingredients muddying up the mix. This is Ballard's second full-length album. The disc is full of pedal steel and cool rhythm guitars. At the heart of the tunes are Matthew's super smooth vocals. This guy has a really nice velvety voice that is the perfect centerpiece for his subdued guitar pop. Unlike a lot of underground artists who tread into weird and experimental territory...this guy is creating purely accessible music that doesn't require a lot of thought and/or patience. All you need to do to enjoy the music is just pop the disc in and turn up the volume. And in today's complicated musical climate...that, indeed, can be a very good thing. Cool soft rockers include "Run Away With Me," "Forget About You," "Never Here Again," and "Where Do I Go From Here." (Rating: 5) - babysue.com


Midnight Drive, Matthew Ballard’s follow up to his debut record, feeds the country lovin’ hungry with twang and heartache. Ballard brings along an all-star cast of players, including Cindy Cashdollar, Redd Volkaert, and Paul Pearcy. Songs on the record are well written, and the instrumentation is carefully crafted, you won’t want to skip over any tracks on this record. Ballard spends a good bit of time on the road around Texas, his live show features a pretty good touring band and mixes up songs from both of his records. Between playing on the road and cutting the latest full-length album in Austin’s own Shine Studios, Ballard has developed a sound that could be described as a number of genres: folk, Americana, dancehall honky tonk, and country rock.
The first track and Ballard’s new single, “Run Away with Me”, introduces some of Ballard’s rockin’ country sound that could easily be compared to Charlie Robison or early Jack Ingram. That country sound that saturates Midnight Drive comes from a plentiful helping of steel guitar, fantastic fiddle playing, and clean, crisp production. Most of Ballard’s lyrics relate to the common man’s struggle and hardships, like “Someday”, a song about young marriage. “A Day Off” is entertaining with its comical lyrics, almost like a John Prine or Hayes Carll song, but “Chains” should be in the running for the darkest “killin’ song of 2008”.
Midnight Drive demonstrates Ballard’s growing up and makes for a strong follow up, lyrically and directionally, to his previous record, Time. Producer Justin Douglas achieves just what the listener longs for as far as good, easy listening, roots driven music. Matthew Ballard will be viewed as the Guy Clark of our generation if he continues to grow in his songwriting and dig deeper into rural lives of American folks. Watch for more from Matthew Ballard, and make sure you check out a live show!

-HalleyAnna Finlay at Lonestar Music Magazine October 2008
- Lonestar Music Magazine


With his new album Midnight Drive officially coming out on July 26, now is as good a time as any to highlight Texan Matthew Ballard. Unfortunately, background information on this talented singer-songwriter is scarce. Even in his bios, in which artists usually unload every detail from their pasts, Ballard keeps the focus squarely on his music. That's both refreshing and frustrating, but the elusive Ballard seems content to let his work speak for itself.

In addition to penning songs for fellow artists like Western swing siren Jessie Lee Miller, Ballard is a compelling voice in his own right. He is the sole writer of all the compositions on his debut album Time, and that songwriting prompted the Texas Music Times to name him its Indie Artist of the Month for April 2008. Some songs are stark and poignant ("Fatigues"), while others are laced with a thread of humor ("Right Train Wrong Track"). With vocals that are alternately gruff and tender, Ballard creates vivid storylines for his listeners. While he may not be a household name, he's certainly a welcome addition to a jam-packed regional scene.
- Melodic Sunburst Music Blog


Matthew Ballard’s current CD is titled Time. It is an appropriate name as it is only a matter of “time” before everyone knows about Matthew Ballard. The CD has some Texas standouts contributing to the 11 great tracks on the record. Matt Powell (Wade Bowen Band), Cindy Cashdollar (Sue Foley Band, Van Morrison, and others), and Ric Ramirez (Two Tons of Steel) contributed to the tunes behind Ballard’s poetry on the record. The real treat of Time is the songs and Ballard wrote all 11 tracks as a solo author and his songwriting is what is most noticeable about Matthew as an artist. His songs are a blend of regular country music themes and some Texas social history. The best song on the CD is “The Devil in Palestine” that describes the common Texas struggle of those who live off the land and those who become rich by it. It is the same theme in Texas since independence. Ballard tells the story with class and tragedy. Ballard’s extraordinary songwriting is bound to move him to the top of the pile in Texas music and that is a good thing. Nothing can keep a good songwriter down and Matthew Ballard has the poetic skills that will serve him well. Everyone should keep their eyes and ears on Matthew Ballard. - Texas Music Times


The first studio release from Matthew Ballard is a solid effort grounded in the traditions of the great Texas singer-songwriters. The first few songs could have been written by Robert Earl Keen Jr. — not a bad start — but Ballard strikes his own chords with a collection of heartfelt and simply stated and personal songs about love, loss and yes, even hope. It's a collection of songs that run the gamut of Americana, alt-country, folk, country rock and honky tonk. His musical influences might include Joe Ely or Guy Clark or any of a hundred of the great songsmiths that have come out of the Lone Star state. Ballard has a crack band backing him, including Cindy Cashdollar on steel/dobro and Matt Powell on electric guitar. Eleanor Whitmore provides subtle harmonies and at times haunting fiddle. This could be a portrait of an artist as a young man, with the promise of even greater songwriting to come. This is a CD that keeps growing on you with each listen. - Freight Train Boogie


Discography

LP: Midnight Drive (2008)
Radio Single: Run Away with Me

LP: Time (2007)

Radio Airplay/Streaming Radio: Devil in Palestine, Wrapped up in You, Her Dreams, Fatigues, and Righ Train, Wrong Track

Photos

Bio

Since his 2007 debut, Time, Matthew Ballard has been taking his brand of Americana to the road, lighting up dance halls and bars across the Lonestar State. And rather than kicking back on his days off, he’s been working hard at Shine Studios in Austin. The fruit of his labor, Midnight Drive, confidently steers its way onto the airwaves at the end of July 2008 and promises to turn heads with its carefully crafted songs and staying power.
Swirling with pedal steels and twangy guitars that melt seamlessly into lively fiddles and intricate instrumentation, Midnight Drive brings its country chops to the table. For this recording, Ballard calls on the help of some Texas legends, including Redd Volkaert, Cindy Cashdollar, and Paul Pearcy as well as the musical contributions by Justin Douglas. Their presence on the record gives it a commanding stride. The result is an Americana gem steeped in tradition and packed with Ballard’s inventive takes on folk-art conventions.

Midnight Drive highlights Ballard’s songwriting, which features poignant lyrics and infectious hooks. He pulls from a variety of influences, from the laid back swagger of foundational Texas artists like Steve Earle and Guy Clark, to the polished, storytelling style of Nashville greats such as Don Williams.