With a gritty vocal approach, considerable guitar skills, and a natural sense of country-pop dynamics, Frankie Ballard would appear to have an unshakable template for country music stardom. Born in Battle Creek, Michigan, Ballard was singing Elvis Presley songs with his dad (and with fervor) by the time he was five, but he soon fell under the summer spell of baseball and pushed himself to excel as a ballplayer. He was 18 before he got his first guitar, but thereafter he spent hours playing it, and music became his other passion. He began playing in blues bands on the weekends, juggling gigs with baseball games, until eventually music won out and he dedicated himself to building a career as a performer. Seen here at the Avalon Theatre at Fallsview CAsino in Niagara Falls, Ontario.