Frankie Ballard Fought Urge to Turn ‘Star Spangled Banner’ Into ‘Purple Haze’
After Frankie Ballard opened the CMA Music Festival with the national anthem, he fought an urge to keep on going. The singer performed a guitar-only version of the "Star Spangled Banner," and it evoked memories of Woodstock 1969 and Jimi Hendrix.
Ballard says he's sung the song a few times, but thinks the guitar version is a great way to express the melody and more.
“Sometimes when somebody is singing it, it makes the listener pay attention too much to how they’re doing and the words," he told Taste of Country during the 2016 Taste of Country Music Festival. Of course the words are the focus, but fans can dig deeper into them when forced to sing along with an expressive instrumental version of the song.
He'll only perform the distortion-heavy, electric version of the "Star Spangled Banner" during special occasions, he says. Anyone familiar with Hendrix' performance at Woodstock knows how the guitar legend went from the national anthem into "Purple Haze" seamlessly. Ballard thought about it.
“Somebody mentioned Jimi Hendrix’ name and I said ‘Listen, I gotta keep it between the rails.’ At the end I may give a little feedback. But I gotta keep it tight.”
He does, after all, want to be invited back in 2017 and years to come. By then he may be working on a second or third single from El Rio, his new studio album, released last Friday (June 10). Ballard says he's relieved the album is out, finally. Now he's sitting back and taking in opinions and feedback. His current single, "All Started With a Beer," has just entered the Top 20.
Pictures From Frankie Ballard and More at ToC Fest