Spartanburg, South Carolina (July 13, 2018) – Many people recognize country artist David Ball from hit songs like “Thinkin’ Problem” or “Riding With Private Malone” but David’s musical Journey started long before in Spartanburg, SC with a group called Uncle Walt’s Band back in the 1970’s.
With a bit of a homecoming weekend, David has three shows booked in two days to showcase the music that started it all. The first of those being held in the Barrett Room at the Spartanburg County Library at noon today. With the opportunity to come in during soundcheck, I sat back watching and listening as the group ran over certain parts of songs and also as they mingled with some other early entrants going over old memories. It was a moment to take in for a long time fan and being able to experience a bit of hometown history in person myself.
Performing as David Ball & That Carolina Sound joined by Marshall Hood (guitar), Warren Hood (fiddle), Scott Metko (percussion) and Nigel Frye (bass), the group took the stage to a room filled with family, as well as longtime friends and fans with every seat filled and any standing space occupied. Playing many songs from the new album release, Uncle Walt’s Band Anthology, the room filled with the Americana, bluegrass, folk sounds that inspired artists like Lyle Lovett during the original lineups time in Texas in the 1970’s. Seeing the group in an intimate setting I feel helped bring out the nostalgia part of listening to such iconic songs as “Ruby“, “In The Night“, and the fan-requested “Aloha” mixed with David’s stories of past times between the songs. Ball took moments to mention what an honor it was to be back in Spartanburg playing these old songs as he recalled places where he once played around town and citing the honor it is to play this music with Warren (son) and Marshall (nephew) who are relatives of original member Champ Hood who has passed away, along with former frontman, Walter Hyatt.
Other notable songs during the set included “Undecided“, “Someday“, and “In the Night“, all to the crowd’s delight. Taking the audience on a trip back to yesterdays with timeless music, like a southern porch pickin’, the group filled the room not only with listening pleasures, but an overall good feeling as well that was reciprocated with much appreciation by those in attendance.
As the show ended, the band members once again took to speaking with those in attendance taking pictures and much reminiscing before having to leave for their live radio performance and two sold-out shows to be held at the Fr8Yard later tonight and again on Saturday.
It’s hard to describe that small hometown feel of the show in words. With David’s music career starting long before my time, it’s still like a sense of pride seeing the respect given back to someone who helped pave the way for so many here locally and nationally. The inspiration Uncle Walt’s Band has had on many artists, so many of us have enjoyed has filled the airwaves for years. David may be more widely known for his Nashville hits, but if you don’t take the time to listen to the true roots of his music you are truly missing out.
Be sure to check the newly released Uncle Walt’s Band Anthology, with 21 tracks from the original band, including never before released a demo version of “I’ll Come Knockin’” and also David’s first new single in 8 years, “I Got a Broken Heart in the Mail“.