Sat. Jun 25th, 2022

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Album Review: Frankie Ballard – Sunshine & Whiskey

2 min read

A newcomer to the country-rock scene, however rapidly becoming a fan favourite, Frankie Ballard has released his second studio album Sunshine & Whiskey. A voice that fits straight in line with Nashville and guitar slung to boot, Ballard has comfortably identified his audience, leaving him with the ability to conjour up a set of songs firmly placed on contemporary country-rock radio.

Frankie-Ballard-Sunshine-WhiskeySunshine and Whiskey sounds like someone who is deeply at home in Music City. The album kicks off with a string of intelligently crafted tunes that slide along with ease. We are guitar licks galore in opener Young & Crazy, and along with some clever vocal phrasing the song eases us into Ballard’s sound. Title track Sunshine & Whiskey bounces along touching upon that classic country-themed attitude towards alcohol and a how to generally have a good time. It’s simple, yet simplicity tends to breed energetic tunes and catchy lines. Lead single off the record is Helluva Life. It hit number 1 on the US Country billboard chart and has received continuous airplay since. A classic country-rock tune by any means, it is easy to see why radio picked this one up. Ballard’s voice is at home here, and the chorus has been constructed so easily that it sticks after the first listen. Add in some nice fretwork from the man himself and everyone would appear to be in good spirits.

Strong choruses seems to be a regular feature on the album, as Tell Me You Get Lonely showcases, however you sometimes get the sense you have heard it all before. There is a certain formula for great country music, and one that has perhaps been used so often in the past that our ears have become too accustomed to hearing it. Songs like Sober Me Up, and I’m Thinking Country, while both sound perfectly agreeable on their own, thrown in with the bulk of the work they at times become a little recycled. Not to mention a few lyrical clichés in the latter, as the title may have you presume.

Sunshine & Whiskey is a good body of work form Ballard. For the most part you will find yourself singing along to these songs that go down so easily. Its catchy, well-structured and generally good fun. However there will come a point where a few tracks here and there begin to sound a bit too familiar. It is the times Ballard rises above that tried and tested country formula where he really grabs you and eases you back into your chair.