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Frankie Ballard is coming JD Legends in Franklin

Frankie Ballard's transition from Michigan-based singer/guitar slinger to major-label recording artist was, by most standards, an enviable one. His debut album, Frankie Ballard, produced two Top 30 singles, "Tell Me You Get Lonely" and "A Buncha Girls." He gained national media exposure, appeared on the Grand Ole Opry and played packed arenas opening for Kenny Chesney and on major tours with Taylor Swift and longtime idol Bob Seger.

 

But for Ballard, a music junkie with a restless spirit, there was still too big a gap between that first taste of success and the dreams he'd nurtured working 230 nights a year in crowded clubs back home. Call it a working man's sense of mission, call it a gut check, but Ballard took time out to step back and to reassess where he'd come from and where he was going. 

 

"I was disappointed those two records weren't bigger hits," he says, "and I looked at everything that had gone into them." 

 

What was missing, he realized, was a blue-collar sense of crafting his own product from the bottom up, of putting his stamp on every step of the process. He decided to retool, looking for a like-minded producer. 

 

"I wanted to get somebody that would let me get my hands on the music," he says. "I wanted to let it grow organically, to build tracks an instrument at a time and play a bunch on the record." 

 

His search led him to Marshall Altman, whose work with "bayou soul" singer Marc Broussard he was particularly fond of. 

 

"Marshall and I found a connection," he says. "I quickly realized he was my kind of guy. He loves to work and to experiment. Sometimes we would just mess around with guitar tones, or I'd go, 'Hey, man, I've got this little banjo part in my head' and he'd go, 'Go ahead, man, play it.'" 

 

They would get together for late-night sessions he describes as "freeing. I was making music that was coming from deep within me. If I didn't like something, we'd change it, and if we liked something, we'd chase it and try to get it perfect. It was an unbelievably cool experience." 

 

The first sign of magic from that collaboration is the single "Helluva Life." It's perfect summer uplift, a song about the magic inherent in small moments that can bring joy and perspective to modern lives with more than their share of challenges and big questions. 

 

"It's a song that parallels my journey over the last 18 months," he says. "There is good stuff and bad stuff that happens to us. Nobody's immune to that. Your girlfriend leaves you but your buddies pick you up and take you out on the town and make you feel better, or you lose your job but your brother steps in and helps you find another one. We lean on each other in the good times and the bad times, and sometimes it's hard to see where we're going when we're in the middle of it. I found myself feeling that big time." 

 

In capturing all of that complexity, the song represents the perfect re-emergence for a singer whose journey reflects all of the ups and downs of an entire society facing long-lasting challenges. 

 

"I know this song sure makes me feel connected to so many people struggling in this economy," he says. "There are people who've lost the corner office and people who've lost blue-collar jobs. I hope they see in my story that the music business isn't necessarily limos and private jets. Sometimes it's just busting your butt--at least that's what my journey has been. I want people to go, 'This guy knows where I've been.' 

 

His story is proof that he does. He's a product of Battle Creek, Michigan, a working-class town where he grew up "loving Elvis and Johnny Horton." Sports-obsessed as a kid, he played baseball at Western Michigan University, while he gradually turned a minor interest in music into an obsession. He studied guitarists, including blues greats like Buddy Guy, and locked himself away until he could excel at the instrument. He began playing open mic nights and played drums in a band as well. By the time he was out of college, he was leading his own band, playing 200+ nights a year within a 300-mile radius, and taking once-a-month trips to Nashville to expand his networking opportunities. In 2008, he earned an opening slot with Chesney in Grand Rapids and Detroit. Not long afterward, the songwriting skills he'd been developing earned him a publishing deal with Sony/ATV, as well as a management deal and, finally, a label deal. He moved to Nashville and began recording. 

 

He is presently at work on his second album, and both he and the label are anxious for his fans to hear what he's been working on. 

 

"I knew and the label believed I was making music that mattered," he says. Legendary producer and label executive Scott Hendricks (Trace Adkins, Blake Shelton, Brooks & Dunn) signed on as co-producer. Meanwhile, Ballard is doing what he does best--taking his music to the people. 

 

"My bread and butter is playing live," he says. "The band and I really hammer the road and I don't want to slow down. We keep it lean and mean out there and give everything we've got to put on a heck of a show. On stage, it's all about connection. I've always been a firm believer if people just wanted to listen to music they could easily do it from the comfort of their home or their vehicle, but when they come out they want to see something. They want to experience something. They want to be part of something. That's why I go to shows. And the best is when the connection comes through one of your songs. To watch someone sing your song back at the top of their lungs because they've been through the same thing, well, that means as much to a performer as it does to a fan, and that's what keeps me going." 

 

That connection is still at the heart of what he does. 

 

"There's a line in 'Helluva Life' that goes, 'The bad times make the good times better,' and I really believe that," he says. "That's why I don't resent the tough times I've been through. Maybe I needed to take the long way around and learn some lessons before I was able to handle success. It may just be God's way of helping me cope with what is to come." 

 

And his growing legions of fans are more than ready to take the rest of the journey with him.

  • WHEN: Friday, August 12, 2016 
  • TIME:  5:00 PM
  • WHERE: JD Legends Entertainment Complex - 65 Millard Drive, Franklin, OH 45005
  • TICKET PRICES:  $15.00-$20.00
  • GET TICKETS

Twitter trolls Donald Trump with #DonaldTrumpTheMovie

Donald Trump appeared in "Zoolander," "Sex and the City" and "Home Alone 2." 

He played himself in each of the productions, but what would a film starring Trump look like?

Earlier this year, Funny or Die released a parody film, "Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie" in which Johnny Depp portrays a flamboyant Trump in a sarcastic biopic.

But internet users think Trump's distinct personality could be the center of plenty other films. 

>> Read more trending stories  

People upset with the Republican presidential nominee have used the hashtag #DonaldTrumpTheMovie to suggest titles of films the 70-year-old businessman should star in.

<iframe src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/donaldtrumpthemovie/embed?header=none&amp;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/donaldtrumpthemovie.js?header=none&amp;border=false"></script>[View the story "#DonaldTrumpTheMovie " on Storify]

Brad Paisley Joins Demi Lovato in Concert for 'Without a Fight'

Brad Paisley joined Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas last night (July 26) in Washington, D.C. for a special appearance on the Future Now Tour. Paisley walked out on stage for his duet with Lovato on their new single "Without a Fight," as well as Lovato's poignant "Stone Cold." 

Ever wonder who Beyonce's personal photographer is?

A photo posted on the Beyonce's website may reveal who takes some of her more personal photos.

>> Read more trending stories  

The "My Life" section of the 34-year-old singer's website displays countless photos of her travels, daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, 4 and husband, rapper Jay Z.

One picture posted Tuesday during a family trip to Paris shows Beyonce flawlessly posing for the camera, but it's what's in the background of the photo that has people talking.

A mirror behind Bey reflects Jay Z taking the picture.

<iframe src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/jay-z-is-beyonce-s-personal-photographer/embed?header=none&amp;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/jay-z-is-beyonce-s-personal-photographer.js?header=none&amp;border=false"></script>[View the story "Jay Z is Beyonce's personal photographer" on Storify]Jay Z is Beyonce's personal photographerStorified by CMGNationalNews· Wed, Jul 27 2016 17:40:12When you ask bae to take a fit pic for you https://t.co/pkyDPsi5XZComplex StyleJay: Put ya hand up.Half curl it.Tilt ya head.Half-open ya lips.Now lean. Bey: Like this? Jay: YAAS. Perfection. https://t.co/0BZJIYSG4lXJay Z: "Bey, you're doing amazing Sweetie" https://t.co/dx7vd5AB4OFORWARDHov in the background like "I brag different." https://t.co/mn7yFLB0WHStephenYou know what I just realized? Beyoncé doesn't make Jay Z take these pictures. Jay Z makes Beyoncé take em. https://t.co/bnzafUWCfZDK UzoukwuJay-Z's role in this picture exemplifies literally the only thing that makes me think I should get myself a man https://t.co/x523hFxyw6shon faye

Granger Smith coming to Land of Illusion

Granger Smith  is coming to  Land of Illusion's Stage of Rage on Saturday, September 10th!

 
  • Date: Saturday, September 10th  
  • Time: Concert starts at 9:30pm
  • Location: Land of Illusion (8762 Thomas Road Middletown, OH 45042)
  • Ticket Prices: All concerts are included in with your general admission ticket starting at $35.99
  • Get more details here!

Can you find the cell phone in this photo?

Over the weekend, a photo of a couple items on a rug went viral on Facebook, and it's pretty mind-blowing.

>> Read more trending stories  

Take a few minutes and check it out for yourself.

Can you find the cell phone?

Don’t worry, it may take a while to find it, but it's definitely there.

Once you find it, it’s impossible to un-see.

Can't find it? Scroll below for a hint.

Since hindi ako makatulog, Let's play a game. Look for the cellphone.Posted by Jeya May Cruz on Saturday, July 2, 2016

Look in the upper right-hand corner of the photo next to the table’s leg. You should be able to see the back of the phone case. It's black with white details.

'Slothfie': Sloth's smile steals all the attention in this selfie

Twitter user Andrew Bloch said he is "totally against the selfie stick."

>> Read more trending stories

"But every now and then, an exception comes along," he wrote on Twitter. 

Bloch is among many social media users who applauded one man's photo, which originally appeared on Imgur

In the photo, a man uses a selfie stick to get a unique angle of a sloth hanging from a tree. 

The lazy animal hangs with one arm outstretched with a sly smile in what looks like a purposeful pose.

"This is an acceptable selfie," one Imgur user wrote. 

"(This is) the only reason one should own a selfie stick," another user said.

The photo has been viewed nearly 2 million times.

Photoshop artist takes requests, but his creations are brutally literal

People have been using Photoshop to edit and enhance photos for years. 

The software is used to remove blemishes and wayward hairs, alter body shapes and change any backdrop from one scene to another. 

>> Read more trending stories  

One designer, James Fridman, has seemingly mastered the graphics editor. 

Fridman, who created his Twitter account in March, has only tweeted 73 times and has nearly 433,000 followers.

While Fridman has kept details about his personal life private -- his tweets consist entirely of other people's photos -- he invites people to send him their photos with requests to edit them. 

And Fridman makes sure to give the people exactly what they want -- his interpretations are extremely literal.

<iframe src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/james-fridman-s-photo-edits/embed?header=none&amp;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/james-fridman-s-photo-edits.js?header=none&amp;border=false"></script>[View the story "James Fridman's photo edits" on Storify]

See more of Fridman's work here.

Father and daughter show uncanny resemblance in hilarious face swap photo

Trending on Facebook

More popular and trending stories

Many children look a lot like their parents, but one family is proving that it has some pretty strong genes in a hilarious photo.

>> Read more trending stories  

A father posted a picture on social media after using a face-swap feature with his daughter. The result will make you do a double take.

View post on imgur.com

The 11-year-old girl sports a mustache in the photo, but the dad, on the right, almost looks as if his face hasn't been altered.

Maybe the photo shows what the father looked like in his younger years, but the burning question is: What does everyone else in the family look like? 

Is this a picture of Natalie Portman or a 13-year-old boy?

Trending on Facebook

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Most people look back on their preteen and teen years with some level of embarrassment.

>> Read more trending stories  

Parents love to share photos of children in their awkward stages with family friends and those soon to be married into the family.

But one woman, Shannon Welch, shared a photo of her boyfriend online for all Internet users to see. 

The photo, posted on Welch's Reddit account, show's her boyfriend, Clyff, at 13 years old, and he looks exactly like a present-day Natalie Portman.

In the photo, Clyff, who's now 24, sports glossy, shoulder-length hair. Clyff's eyebrows, eyes, nose and lips look similar to Portman's features. They even both have similar beauty marks on their left cheeks.

Welch said she didn't notice the resemblance until Clyff sent her the sixth-grade photo of himself as a joke.

"I never really noticed until he sent me the side by side comparison when we first started dating," she said. "He wasn't on any social media when we met so I had no way to look at photos of him, so he sent me that photo to 'hold me over' until we saw each other next in person." 

She continued: "I laughed and just thought it was two photos of Natalie. A week later, (when we saw each other in person) he had to convince me it was him I didn't believe him until he showed me his actual sixth grade class photo."

Welch said she's not the only one who initially noticed the resemblance. 

"When I first started to meet his friends they would all ask if I'd seen his Natalie Portman photo," she said. "It was always the first thing everyone pointed out."

But according to Welch, Clyff, isn't embarrassed at all. 

"He's so proud of it. He's a big fan of Natalie and hopes she sees this," she said. "I, of course, am a big fan too."

When you find out the boy you're crushin on used to be #natalieportman #nojokethisisanelevenyearoldboy #ontheleft #thatsaboy #notnatalieportman A photo posted by Shannon Welch (@shannnypants) on Sep 19, 2015 at 10:50pm PDT  

Here are more recent photos of Clyff without the locks. People have joked that he's no longer Portman's doppleganger and could no longer be her "stunt double."

A photo posted by Shannon Welch (@shannnypants) on Feb 14, 2016 at 1:53pm PST

A photo posted by Mitch Cumstein MD (@the_real_natpo) on Jan 14, 2016 at 7:20pm PST

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