If you’ve been paying attention to the local music community over the past decade, then you’ve undoubtedly heard of Danny Balis. Or at least heard Danny Balis. He formerly played bass for Sorta (Trey Johnson, Carter Albrecht, Trey Carmichael and Ward Williams), one of the best (and most popular) local bands based in Dallas. Danny also performs with the wildly popular King Bucks (Balis, Joe Butcher, Chad Stockslager, Keith Killoren and Chris Carmichael), the band that scored both Best Live Act and Best Country Act at the 2009 Quick’s Big Thing Awards. Danny was also recently featured on Paul Slavens’ Podcast, Track By Track.
On Monday, I had an Internet date with Danny for a quick Q&A prior to his in-studio performance Wednesday morning on KXT 91.7:
Art&Seek: I love your solo debut album, Too Much Living. It’s very much a throwback to retro good ol’ country music, the type of music I grew up with and still love. What was your inspiration behind the album?
Danny Balis: I had always been encouraged by some of my musical peers to sing country. My mother was a regional western swing artist back in the 50s, so I grew up on it for sure. Losing my best friend [Carter Albrecht] to a tragic shooting provided a lot of grief and choices to make, and I didn’t make the best of choices during that time. Recurring themes, in a lot of good country music, is regret and redemption, so it felt like the perfect time to do it. It was a long and tough process to make this album, but I did it and it’s over and I’m proud of it.
A&S: What are some of the most notable differences going from being the bass player/side man to being the singer/songwriter/leading man?
D.B.: Other than the obvious, there is a lot more pressure fronting a band. I prefer to play bass, and I love playing bass and being in the background. I don’t plan to do a lot of solo shows, so I’m not too worried about embracing the whole front man thing.
A&S: What do you hope to accomplish with this album?
D.B.: Nothing really. I have no real expectations on what it will do, what it is supposed to do, or what it has already done. I’m happy that some folks have found it and I have gotten a lot of good feedback and reviews, so that always feels good. I believe I put my heart into it and did it the way I wanted, so I’m pretty satisfied with it as is.
A&S: Since this album is out, and doing very well on the charts as well as the Internet, are you working on another album?
D.B.: I have a couple of new songs for a solo record, but I’m not sure what I’m gonna do next. I will for sure make another record, but not exactly sure of the content or terms of it. I have a few ideas, one might entail doing a tribute album, but we’ll see.
A&S: If you could take off work for 6 months and tour with any band in the world, what band would that be and what would your tour schedule look like?
D.B.: I would love to tour with Merle Haggard. He’s my biggest living influence, and I think it would be neat to tour Texas opening for him.
A&S: What are your thoughts and expectations of the newly launched KXT 91.7?
D.B.: It’s about time. I just hope that Dallas will realize how neat this is, get away from the mainstream, and actually seek out this station. People need to realize that there is other music out there other than Kings of Leon and Lady Gaga. I’m hopeful for the station, I just don’t know if I trust its local audience to support it. Time will tell.
Listen to Balis’ song “Tethered”
Tune in to KXT 91.7 at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday to hear Danny Balis live in the studio with Gini Mascorro.