An Interview with the Ball Brothers

The Ball Brothers learned to sing harmony while growing up Central Illinois. After hearing an uncle’s Cathedrals records and cassettes, they learned to pick out the parts and started to sing songs for their church. The four brothers, Andrew (tenor), Daniel (lead), Stephen (baritone), and Josh (sound engineer), released their first CD in February. Their current single is “I’m Already Living Forever.”

They received national exposure touring as the opening act for Ernie Haase and Signature Sound’s Summer Spectacular Tour. They also appeared on Signature Sound’s upcoming live video.

I recently had the opportunity to interview them.

Q. Did each of you have an equal desire to get into Southern Gospel, or did one of you talk the rest into going on the road?
: This has been a dream of all of us, so when the opportunity presented itself, we all jumped on it.

Q. Do any of you have formal musical training or play any musical instruments?
Stephen: All four took piano lessons for a year during grade-school, however none of us learned how to play. A couple of us also took trumpet lessons with the same result. Our parents are both accomplished musicians. Our mom plays the piano. Our dad plays the trumpet and was a music minister in Illinois for 15 years before pastoring in Georgia. All four of us guys learned alot of what we know musically from our parents.

Q. Compared to the rest of your songs, how difficult are the a capella songs you do? Do any of you have perfect pitch to keep the others in key?
Andrew: We love singing a capella! I guess for us a capella is actually easier than singing with music. We’ve found that the main thing when singing acapella is blend. As long as all three part are blended well, pitch issues aren’t as noticeable. None of us have perfect pitch, that I know of.

Q. Which musicians and groups, whether Southern Gospel or otherwise, were your greatest musical influences?
Daniel: We all agree on the one group that had the most influence on us, The Cathedrals. The Cathedrals were one of the few sg groups that made is up to Central Illinois. They also always took time to encourage us and give us a few pointers. Over the past year, EHSS and the Martins have really influenced our music. We listen to a very wide range of groups and pick up every cd that we can.

Q. What is the most unusual thing that has happened at a Ball Brothers concert?
Josh: This story is pretty unusual and comical. We were singing on a Sunday night at a little mountain church in Virginia, when we got there the pastor had just got back from a visit with a lady he was convinced was demon possesed. He told us the story in his office before we went out to sing. He had a special prayer to bind demonic powers away from the concert. The whole thing had him really shook up. The concert was going great until about the third song when a radio station started bleeding through our speakers (this wasn’t that uncommon with the song system we had at the time.) We knew exactly what it was, but unfortunately the pastor about passed out because he thought that the demons had made their way into the church. =)

Q. If you could pick any place in the world to perform a concert, where would it be?
Andrew: Each of us have been on multiple foreign missions trips. We were all talking the other day about one day doing a Southern Gospel tour of Europe. We would like to go back and sing in some of the countries that we did missions work in. Such as: Romania, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Germany and maybe a few others.

Q. Does the group have a resident comedian?
All: Andrew has a very dry sense of humor.
Daniel has a quick whited sarcastic humor.
Stephen has more of a situational comedy type of humor.
Josh is humorous to look at.
During our concerts people will see each guys unique style of humor.

Q. Ernie Haase introduced you this summer by telling the story of playing a basketball game with you before discovering you could sing. Did he decide on the spot to include you in the Summer Spectacular tour? (If he called later, what was it like to get that call?)
Stephen: He mentioned the possibility of doing some of the summer tour dates which included the first weekend. After the first weekend was over, he invited us to come on the bus for all of the summer tour dates. Needless to say we were ecstatic about the opportunity.

Q. Was there a “most memorable moment” in the Summer Spectacular tour for you?
All: It’s hard to pick out one moment because so many great things happened each week of the tour. So here are two “most memorable moments”. All of us agree that one of the top moments was when we sang in Fort Worth, TX in front of nearly 3,000 EHSS [Ernie Haase & Signature Sound] fans. The other top moment was getting to be a part of EHSS new DVD.

Q. I understand your next release to radio will be the song “Mercy Said No.” When did you first hear the song, and what led you to decide to record it and release it to radio?
Daniel: We first heard the song from our manager, Terry Hudson. It was the first song he sent us when we started talked about what to put on our first project. In order for a song to make it on our project, all four of us guys had to agree it was something we all wanted to record. I guess that’s why we went through about 1,500 songs before we all agreed on ten. Our main reason for making it our second radio single is because of the response from people. It’s one of our most requested songs.

Q. Might there ever be a bass in the Ball Brothers’ future?
Andrew: Josh would sing bass now if his voice was low enough. All of us have high voices and we don’t have any plans on bringing a “non-brother” in, but you never know.

Q. If you ever record a project of your favorite Southern Gospel songs, what are some of the songs you might pick?
All: Here are a few of our favorites:
Oh What a Savior
He Set Me Free
Because He Lives
I Bowed On My Knees
Where Could I Go

Q. Do you hope to be singing Southern Gospel for the rest of your lives?
Stephen: Definitely! We would all like to sing Southern Gospel all of our lives like, Glenn Payne, Jake Hess, George Younce and all the other heroes that we grew up listening to.

Q. Do you have any future plans you’d like to share, or any other comments?
Ball Brothers: A couple of exciting things that are coming up is:
1. Mr. Gaither asked us to be part of some new Homecoming Videos that will be recorded in February.
2. We are making final arrangements on starting our second project, which will be an a cappela project. We hope to have it finished [and released] by the first of the year. We started putting samples and updates on the website over the next few weeks.

This is the first interview I’ve posted on this blog. I will see if I can arrange an interview every month. Feel free to post requests for future people to be interviewed in the comments.