Wednesday, May 12, 2010

ReWind Wednesdays: The Ball Brothers 2006

Often new artists are advertised in the media as “the” hottest new group or soloist in Southern Gospel. As trite as this is becoming to all of us, this phrase has also been used for an innovative trio from central Illinois. Attend one of their concerts, or even take a brief moment to peruse their website, and you will understand why there is so much buzz about The Ball Brothers.

Stephen, Joshua, Andrew and Daniel Ball just recorded their first CD in February and have released the single “I’m Already Living Forever” to great reviews on radio. They are managed by Terry and Brian Hudson, and are touring with Ernie Haase and Signature Sound. This young group has a progressive sound with a hint of 1940’s flavour, and with their harmonies and energy they are making their mark quickly on the Southern Gospel scene.

Sgmradio recently caught up with the Ball Brothers and asked them to introduce themselves. We are reproducing much of the interview as it occurred to allow our readers to get better acquainted with these men. Please meet The Ball Brothers:

Daniel: My name is Daniel, I'm second-born. My wife Tasha and I just celebrated our fifth anniversary. We have a three year old boy named Logan and are expecting our second child in early November. I sing lead and do most of the emceeing. I also do most of the driving.

Josh: I'm Josh the youngest brother. My main responsibilities are running the sound and taking care of all the product. I also do some of the office work. I join in with the guys on a song or two during concerts and also cover anyone's part if their sick… Although no one’s ever been sick, but chances are one day I'll have to fill in so I'm always ready. I'm 20 years old and also the only one that's single.

Andrew: I’m Andrew the oldest brother. I’m married to my lovely wife Moriah and we have a two-year-old daughter, Natalie. We are expecting a boy at the end of August. I sing tenor and I’m in charge of most of the phone calls and office work.

Stephen: I’m Stephen, third-born. I got married to Emily a little over six months ago. I’m in charge of pictures for the website and updating our e-mail list.

Sgmradio: What is one unique thing that separates you from your brothers?

Daniel: I'm ambidextrous.

Josh: Freedom! I'm not married.

Andrew: I'm the only one that can wiggle my ears.

Stephen: I’m not really sure, but my wife says I’m the best looking.

Sgmradio: How did you become interested in music and singing?

Daniel: Our parents both sing and play instruments. We picked up on the singing at a very young age. None of us ever learned to play any instruments. Our first introduction to Southern Gospel was from our Uncle Bob. We loved going to his house and listening to his records and cassettes of the Cathedrals. We would sing along till each of us found a part, and then we would sing the song in church. I think one of our first specials in church was "Can He? Could He? Would He?” We found a cassette with us singing that song. We sound like the Chipmunks.

Josh: My brothers had always talked about the Cathedrals. I didn't even know there was other Southern Gospel Groups, so when I went to my first "concert" I thought for sure it was going to be the Cathedrals. We got there to the concert and it was another SG group singing. I cried! I was only like 14…Just kidding... I was 5.

Andrew: When I was about 6 our dad started a men’s quartet to sing specials in church. I remember sitting in on their practices and listening to all the parts and pretty soon I found myself being able to hear each part individually. We also listened to a lot of Southern Gospel growing up.

Stephen: I was about four when I heard my first SG album. I’ve been listening and singing ever since.

Sgmradio: Who are your musical influences?

Daniel: One of my main influences would have to be the Cathedrals. They were one of the only SG groups that came up to Illinois, so we really looked forward to seeing them. We also spent a lot of time at our Grandma's house watching her Gaither videos.

Josh: Cathedrals, Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, Gaither Vocal Band & William Hung.

Andrew: We all grew up listening to the same groups because we only had one CD player in the house. Today I enjoy listening to music from the 1940’s; we try to incorporate some of the harmonies and sounds from that era into the music we sing today.

Stephen: One of my main influences right now would have to be Doug Anderson. He’s really done a lot to help me learn how to use my voice properly. I also really like Marshall Hall and Jim Brady, both baritones.

Sgmradio: Who are your spiritual heroes?

Daniel: My parents. I have seen them have a consistent walk with the Lord my whole life. They taught me that spirituality isn't just a show when you’re out in front of people. Spirituality is what you really are on the inside even if there's no one around. If you have a good relationship with the Lord on the inside, it will shine through to your outward appearance.

Josh: We had an evangelist named Paul Levin that came to our church when I was pretty young and he shared his life's story. I remember seeing how old and Godly he was and seeing how God had richly blessed his life. It challenged me to live a clean and pure life that's totally dedicated to the Lord.

Andrew: I love to read about the trisls that the apostle Paul went through in his lifetime. It makes any trials that I go through seem small. My parents and my father-in-law are also my spiritual heroes.

Stephen: My Dad is my spiritual hero. I’ve seen him handle almost any situation imaginable. I’ve seen him live his life practicing what he preaches.

Sgmradio: As your schedule gets busier and you get more well known, how do you keep grounded?

Daniel: As our schedule gets busier it's hard to find the time to get everything done I need to. My personal relationship with God is always first. As long as I keep God first, the other things will fall into place.

Andrew: One thing that's really nice about having our Dad as pastor, is that he can see areas that we might be struggling in before we do. He helps keep us grounded as well as friends from all over the country who call in to check on us.

Josh: I always try to remember where we started from not that long ago. I also know that everything we accomplish is a blessing from the Lord.

Stephen: My family and friends help keep my grounded.

Sgmradio: What are some of your hobbies? (I’m guessing basketball!!)

Daniel: I love basketball. Growing up with three brothers, I can really get into any competitive sport. I really like to hunt whitetail deer and fish for anything. I also really enjoy cooking on the grill. Josh might also answer "cooking on the grill" …just remember he is the student and I am the master.

Josh: Any kind of sports. Weightlifting and working out. Fishing. Skiing, even though it's put me in the hospital a couple times. Cooking on the grill.

Andrew: I'll let Daniel and Josh fight over who is the Master Chef. I can't even cook a frozen pizza without setting off every smoke alarm within a three-block radius. Basketball, collecting old Christmas music, song writing and computers are some of my hobbies.

Stephen: BASKETBALL!!! I also enjoy running with my wife, fishing, hunting, and skiing. One of my new hobbies is weightlifting…as you can tell, I’ve just started.

The Ball Brothers love for sports has found it’s way into their musical careers as well.
“Anyone who travels and sings can tell you what a drain it can be on you physically”, Andrew says. “We try to get in early and play some basketball or at least do some running before every concert. It keeps us in shape and allows us to have a great amount of energy on the stage.”

The group’s website also reflects their fun-loving, energetic personalities. “We do the website ourselves. It allows us to keep it updated better and put our personality into it. We love to have fun. We hope that anyone who visits the website will go away having a better understanding of what we're like in our everyday lives. The arcade idea came up when we were trying to put some stuff on the site that would go along with our last name. We also call our newsletter "The BALL TEAM". We kinda use the sports theme throughout the website.”

It’s obvious that these guys love each other and get along well together. However, even the best of brotherly relationships can be a little difficult at times. When asked about how these relationships are affected by spending so much time together, the boys were rather generous in their comments.

Daniel: We all get along really well. These guys aren't only my brothers, but they're my closest friends. The most trying thing would probably be making sure no one gets hurt when we're playing basketball.

Andrew: The camaraderie is the best thing. The most trying thing is trying to have as much fun as possible, but still get all of our work done.

Josh: The best thing is the “honesty”, none of try to patronize each other. We all know what everyone is thinking at anytime. The most trying thing would probably be the “honesty” it can be brutal. Also being the youngest brother can be hard sometime because the buck stops with me.

Stephen: We all like to have fun no matter what we’re doing. We all love to travel and sing. The most trying thing is all of us trying to stay in shape while eating fast food all the time.

The Ball Brothers are Pastor’s Kids and church has always been a major part of their lives. Now residing Georgia, Andrew talks about their connection with the local church there and looking beyond its walls. “Our Dad is the pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Chickamauga, GA That is our home church and we stay very involved in the different ministries of the church.” But their compassion for others goes further than the local congregation. “We're artist representatives for World Vision. Each of us have been on several foreign missions trips to Europe. We have worked with missionaries and seen first hand the extreme poverty that many of the children in these countries have to overcome. We were introduced to World Vision through our manager and immediately knew it was something that we wanted to be a part of.”

This love for others and drive to reach out to them is reflected in the reasons each brother gives for doing what they do. Sgmradio asked the Ball Brothers about why they are on the road, singing gospel music, and their own personal mission in life.

Daniel: First of all to see lost souls get saved. Secondly, to encourage believers.

Josh: My mission is to reach and minister to as many people as I can with my life.

Andrew: I'm not out to make a name for myself or our group. I want to see God work through me in everything I do.

Stephen: My mission is to stay in God’s will. I have a real burden for young people. I would like to see more young people getting involved in Southern Gospel music.

Sgmradio: What are your goals for the group for the next year?

Daniel: My main goal is for us to stay in the center of the Lord's will. If we do that there's no tellin’ what we can accomplish as a group.

Andrew: To put our whole heart and energy into pursuing the doors that God is opening for us.

Josh: Sell 2 billion CDs. I get paid off commission.

Stephen: We set our goals so high that there’s no way we can reach them, but we know we’ll reach our maximum potential trying. In other words, I have no idea what we’ll accomplish over the next year.

With progressive sounds and tight harmonies, the Ball Brothers have caught the attention of the music world. With their humour and honesty, it’s easy to see why they then capture the minds and hearts of those who listen to them. These brothers are quickly building an audience that hear their message and are encouraged to pass it along. This is a very personal calling for each of them and while they are excited to see where the Lord is taking their music, they are striving to remain in His will and listen to what He’s saying to them today.

Sgmradio: What is the Lord speaking to you about this week?

Daniel: PATIENCE. I don't like waiting for anything and it seems over this past week the Lord's making me wait on a lot of things. The subject has also come up in my devotions.

Andrew: The Lord’s been teaching me to manage my time better.

Josh: The Lord’s been speaking to me about having more compassion for others. Some time I judge people without ever considering what they might be going through in their life.

Stephen: The Lord has really opened my eyes to see how many lost people are around me in my everyday life. I need to be doing more to witness to them. We are accountable for every person that we come in contact with to tell them about the Lord.

The Ball Brothers are recording a live DVD in Pigeon Forge Tennessee in May. Please check their website for information on this and other concert dates. Appearances and information on joining The Ball Team can be found at .

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