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From the Country Standard Time Archives

David Ball may look like Woody, but he comes alive

Crazy Horse Steakhouse, Irvine, Cal., Nov. 3, 2002

By Dan MacIntosh

IRVINE, CA - David Ball - in his plain black shirt, black jeans and white hat - looked almost exactly like Woody from the "Toy Story" animated movie series, but unlike so many other cartoon figure country singers these days, he is one of the few real things.

During an hour-plus set, which drew almost exclusively from his "Thinkin' Problem" and "Amigo" albums, Ball made the singing of hard honky-tonk songs look oh so easy.

Although he mixed it up with a few well-chosen covers, such as Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and "Honky Tonk Song" from Webb Pierce, Ball mostly showed off the wealth of songs stashed away in his recorded back catalogue.

Out of his "Amigo" hat he dusted off the barroom-friendly "Loser Friendly," got lose to "Swing Baby" and slowed things down nicely for his new single, "Whenever You Come Back To Me."

When he wasn't combing his most recent album for live performance material, he mostly reached back to 1994's "Thinkin' Problem" for songs like the slightly silly "Look What Followed Me Home" and the bar-as-hospital "Honky Tonk Healin'" for this sparse, but appreciative crowd.

Ball was ably supported by his five-piece band and left plenty of room for fiddle, steel guitar and electric lead solos. Ball himself also played a mean bit of acoustic guitar and was certainly no slouch as an instrumentalist. Although he admitted to having been on the road for the past 15 months, he and his fellow musicians never sounded either tired or bored.

This man may have once admitted to having a thinkin' problem, but he certainly has no trouble at all with the playin' and singin' department.