Archive for Earl Poole Ball

Video of the Week: Earl Poole Ball and the Cosmic Americans

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , on July 29, 2010 by 30daysout

You may have never heard of Earl Poole Ball, but you’ve probably heard Earl Poole Ball.   For more than 20 years, he was Johnny Cash’s pianist, and he has played with Merle Haggard, Glen Campbell, Linda Ronstadt, Rick Nelson, the Flying Burrito Brothers and Buck Owens and the Buckaroos, among others.  Remember the song “You’re Still On My Mind,” from the Byrds’ 1968 country-rock classic Sweetheart of the Rodeo?  That’s Earl playing piano.

Earl’s lived in Austin for many years, and he divides his time between two bands – Heybale, a great country outfit with Merle’s ex-guitarist Redd Volkaert, plays every Sunday at the Continental Club; and Earl Poole Ball and the Cosmic Americans, another sweet band with guitarist Casper Rawls and singer Jodi Adair.  Here’s EPB&TCAs, doing a little Johnny Cash shuffle at Austin’s Saxon Pub … close your eyes and picture yourself in the club for happy hour.

Earl Poole Ball & the Cosmic Americans MySpace page

Heybale MySpace page

Review: “The Last Country Album,” Heybale!

Posted in Review with tags , , , on June 30, 2008 by 30daysout

It’s no secret that Austin, Texas, is a town full of veteran pickers and players.  One of the best things you can do, for example, is visit the Continental Club for a Sunday evening performance by Heybale!, the pure country unit headed by guitarist Redd Volkaert and pianist Earl Poole Ball.  The Last Country Album is Heybale’s (let’s just drop the exclamation point from here on) first studio effort, and it’s mighty fine for a Saturday – or any other – night.  The first thing that hits you here is these musicians certainly know their way around a country song: Ball is the honky tonk piano player who worked with Johnny Cash and Buck Owens, as well as the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers.  Volkaert played for years behind Merle Haggard in the Strangers; vocalist Gary Claxton is a mere pup by contrast but his whiskey-soaked voice is perfect in this company. 

Many of the songs are originals, the highlights include Ball’s “Honky Tonk Mood,” which will certainly put you in one, “Everything … About Drinking,” and the instrumental “Heybalin’.”  Redd croaks the lead vocal on “Step Aside” in his unique singing voice.  And “Let’s Go To Mexico” puts you in a cantina on the Texas-Mexico border.  If you are a fan of real country music, I can’t recommend this album enough.  Just about as far removed from current Nashville country product as you can get, The Last Country Album could very well be the last country album … but let’s hope not.  For one, I am going to want to hear as much Heybale as I can.

MP3: “Honky Tonk Mood”

Heybale! official website