Frankie Ballard’s ‘El Rio’ Album Is Astonishingly Underrated

Frankie Ballard looking at the camera

Where the hell has Frankie Ballard been?

I loved the vibe of El Rio. A little rock, a little blues, kind of a 50’s greaser at a drive-up burger joint feel. His picture with combed back hair and leather jacket on the cover really wraps it up and drives it home.

This was a huge moment for the “Sunshine and Whiskey” singer, proving he wasn’t just your run of the mill radio-friendly country singer with a few hits, but an true artist with his own sophisticated style and sound. But that was back in 2016. Since then? Radio silence… which is rather strange for a guy who seemed destined for great things.

Maybe in the great rebound of 2021 we’ll get something new from him (heard he might be working on a gospel project), but until then, let’s go through some of my favorite songs from El Rio.


No song sums up the album vibes better than this one. Written by Kip Moore, another fan of the leather jacket, Frankie combines grungy sounding yet jumpy guitar riffs with super unique drums and a clever way to phrase wanting to spend a night with a girl.

“You’ll Accomp’ny Me”

A Bob Segar cover, are you kidding me? Frankie knocked it out of the park with this one and it’s a hard song to pull off.

“El Camino”

I don’t care what anyone says, El Caminos are cool. Why not put a truck bed on a Chevy coupe? Exactly, you have no reason not to.

“L.A. Woman”

This one is just a good ole fashioned country rock jam. Frankie shows off the vocal range a bit and lets the good times roll.

“Wasting Time”

A guy meets a girl in a bar. What does she want? Why is she there? Whatever the reason, Frankie is there for it.

“Good As Gold”

With a message similar to Eric Church’s “His Kind of Money (My Kind Of Love),” Frankie tells a girl he doesn’t have the money another guy she’s talking to does, but he can give her way more regardless. This is one to play for your lady.

Overall, top to bottom, the entire record is phenomenal.

The radio hit “It All Started With A Beer,” the easy breezy “Sweet Time,” and the heartbreaker “You Could’ve Loved Me,” every song as good as the last.

We miss ya Frankie, come back soon.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock