Frankie Ballard’s work is rarely written about without mentioning his influences — Bob Seger, John Mellencamp, Tom Petty, the Eagles — and if that bothers the singer-guitarist, he’s in trouble come June 10 when his third LP drops. El Rio, his strongest musical statement yet, foregrounds what’s been simmering beneath the surface all along: Good, old-fashioned, American rock & roll.
Today, EW is excited to premiere the video for album opener “El Camino.” With swaggering guitars, a handclap rhythm, and a kiss-off attitude, it’s a break-up anthem that flat out cooks. As Ballard tells EW, it was also the track that kicked off the entire set. “[It] was the first song that we cracked out; the first that we arranged when we were getting ready to record the album. And then the first song that we recorded.”
Ballard didn’t pen the tune — maybe you’ve heard of Chris Stapleton? He wrote it, along with Grammy-winning songwriter Lee Thomas Miller, but the story’s true to the singer. “Look, I’ve been there!” he says, laughing. “I’ve been busted up by some saucy minx and I’ve had to cut and run! This guy is heartbroken. He’s been done wrong, doggonit. Somebody kicked him to the curb. And now he realizes he’s got to go find something else out there that he can do and that’s going to make him happy. He doesn’t know what it is but he knows, ‘All I need is a dog and an El Camino and some cheap sunglasses.'”
The concept for a video was simple enough to figure out: Give Ballard that checklist of items and let loose. Luckily, he bonded quickly with his costar. “I knew all I would need was a couple minutes and I could get that little puppy — her name is Ella – to do whatever I wanted,” he says. (Ella seems to have had an equally good time. During one scene, Ballard feeds her a corndog and, “she loved it! I had to cut her off!”)
He’s enthusiastic about the end result, as well. “I love how that beautiful white dog and that jet-black, dirty El Camino look together.”
“El Camino” is streaming below. El Rio is due for release June 10 via Warner Bros. Records Nashville; it is currently available for pre-order. He has previously shared “It All Started with a Beer,” which is currently in the Top 30 at country radio.