Levi Hummon made his imprint on the Nashville community before he realized the extent of his craft. Born and raised in Music City, Levi was surrounded by music greats; however, it was his keen eye for visual arts that the budding entertainer decided to pursue. While studying painting in college, he was drawn to his dormant musical talents – singing and songwriting. At the close of a significant relationship, Levi began to explore songwriting as a way to navigate his life and relationships. Levi quickly streamlined his unique style. “You’re letting someone into your world which is really vulnerable,” he says. “I write from a reflective & personal place and ultimately I couldn’t see anyone else singing these songs.” Levi loved relating to a listener through the stories he could craft and soon developed a regular rotation of co-writers to help him deliver. He found himself working with notable songwriters such as Jimmy Robbins, Shane MacAnally, Andrew Dorff, Josh Osborne, Jonathan Singleton, Nathan Barlowe Brandy Clark and Trevor Rosen, among others. Levi also wrote with legendary entertainer Steven Tyler on his current single “Red, White and You.” Signed to The Valory Music Co., Levi joined a roster chalked full of diverse talent. The LEVI HUMMON EP is a glimpse into the songwriter’s zest for live, thirst for adventure and homage to his upbringing. Levi co-wrote four of the five tracks on the EP making a personal mark on his debut project.http://levihummon.com/
When Frankie Ballard was growing up in Battle Creek, Michigan, his father played him one classic album over and over again: Marty Robbins’ Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, featuring Robbins’ signature hit “El Paso.” Now Ballard, a quick-draw guitarist and rough-hewn singer, has cut his own metaphorical gunfighter album, decamping from Nashville to a gritty El Paso studio to record the follow-up to his 2014 breakout Sunshine & Whiskey.
For Ballard, who scored three consecutive Number One singles off Sunshine & Whiskey — “Helluva Life,” the title track and “Young & Crazy” — it was imperative that he leave behind the safety of Nashville for the wilds of the Mexico border. Setting up shop at the famed Sonic Ranch, just south of El Paso in Tornillo, Texas, Ballard, producer Marshall Altman (Sunshine & Whiskey) and his band threw themselves headlong into the music, eating and sleeping at the studio. Their goal: make a bona fide album.
“I grew up listening to albums and I loved them as bodies of work,” says Ballard. “But today, everyone cuts singles. Even Sunshine & Whiskey was recorded in chunks. We’d go into one studio, cut four, then go into another studio and cut another four. It’s groovus interruptus, man.”
To keep that groove steady, Ballard went on the lam, leaving Nashville for a few days of bare-bones rehearsals at ground zero for rock & roll and soul, Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama. From there, he continued on to the Granada Theater in Dallas for another workshop session, before arriving at the Sonic Ranch, locked and loaded. “I spur myself sometimes, like getting a metal cleat kicked into your ass so you can go harder. I do that to myself,” says Ballard of the grueling road trip to El Paso. “It’s as far away as you can get. I was trying to get my blood moving.”
“I miss musicianship on the radio. Everyone is doing this digital thing and they’re putting all these pop sounds into country music, and I love it. I dance to it at the club. But I don’t do that personally. I don’t even have a computer,” says Ballard, going on to lay out his plan for country music dominance.