Rivers & Roads
The Ball Sisters Band began in 1998 with Jessica Ball (fiddle and vocals), her sister Cris (mandolin, guitar and vocals) and their father Randy Ball (guitar and vocals). Bass player John Skelton joined us for their first public performance and has played with us ever since. Some of the highlights have been winning several awards at fiddle contests, making eight recordings, and getting to make new friends playing at many locations in Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina. We have had opportunities to play at festivals and shows featuring Doc Watson, Rhonda Vincent, The Dan Tyminski Band, Blue Highway, John Hartford, Mike Seeger, Ralph Stanley and John Anderson. We usually play 50-60 shows per year. Our recordings have been played on radio stations in the United States, Holland, England, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Ireland, and Russia. Jessica now passes traditional music on through her lessons she teaches in Rogersville and Kingsport,TN . She now attends East Tennessee State University, and is active in the Bluegrass program as well as playing flute in the flute choir and concert band. Her current group is The ETSU Pride Band. In January, 2005, she toured England and Scotland with an ETSU group. She has recently began doing some studio work, playing fiddle on several projects. She has been teaching fiddle for about four years. Cris also plays clarinet at Cherokee High School. She holds a distinction of having won awards at three of the biggest fiddle conventions in the east, Galax, Virginia, Smithville, Tennessee, and Union Grove, North Carolina. She was the two time National Beginners Flat Top Guitar Champion at Smithville. Cris is active in her high school band and choir, and has had opportunities to sing at many area events. Cris has also began giving lessons on guitar and mandolin. Randy has written several songs the group performs and has several published in Nashville. He was one of ten songwriters selected to be in the International Bluegrass Music Association's (IBMA) Songwriter's Showcase on October 5, 2004 at the World of Bluegrass in Louisville, Kentucky. His songs have been featured on 'The Songwriter's Network', a nation-wide radio show. John is also an outstanding mandolin player and bass singer. He brings a strong gospel and bluegrass background to the group. 'Rivers and Roads' features six original songs, along with three songs from Nashville songwriter Kim Williams, as well as favorites from the Dillards and Townes Van Zandt. In the liner notes, Kim Williams states 'This album leaves you with the feeling that you're sitting in their living room listening to 'real music' from 'real people', and '.... you'll hear sisterly harmonies that are a joy to listen to'. James Alan Shelton says 'If you haven't these folks yet, it's time you did', and 'To play this music correctly you have to love it and it is clear the Ball Sisters Band loves what they do!'