The Dishman and Ballard Band

By Paul Moffett

You can call them Dishman and Ballard, or you can call them the Dishman and Ballard duo or you can call them the Dishman and Ballard Band, but what you'll soon be calling them is the Waltons, because they're changing the band's name. The music, however, will stay pretty much the same, with a somewhat greater emphasis on original tunes.

The members of the group are: Mike Ballard and Jim Dishman, guitarists; John Scaggs, bass; Rob Edwards, drums; and Bill Armstrong, sound. Ballard and Edwards are Louisville natives, Scaggs is from West Virginia and Dishman is from Monticello.

Dishman and Ballard met at the University of Kentucky and formed the duo in 1984. They moved to California and worked successfully until they split up in 1987. Ballard returned to Kentucky and went to work for Triangle Talent, while Dishman remained on the West Coast. Then in 1990, Dishman returned to Kentucky and the duo was reformed.

The group has been a working cover band for most of its existence, according to Ballard, who acts as the agent for the band. The reason for that is simple money. Ballard and Dishman have generally earned their living playing covers, with material coming from sources as varied as U2, John Hiatt, Lyle Lovett, the Beatles and James Taylor. They have been working in an occasional original song and now count about eight such songs in their repertoire.

The duo added additional members about a year ago, first picking up percussion, then adding mandolinist Hickory Vaught. Vaught worked with them for a while before leaving to get married. John Scaggs joined last September and then Armstrong, formerly the sound man with Abraham Rush and Bobby Lanz Band, came on board. Ballard is extremely pleased with the group's sound.

They are planning to expand their working region to include original music rooms in Cincinnati, Atlanta and Chicago. The band is working on a recording project, with a long-range scheme to get a record deal. They're been upgrading their equipment and have bought a new Wells Cargo trailer.

They are, as Ballard says, getting prepared for bigger things.

In the meantime, catch them at the Golden Nugget on September 2 through 4.

Now Appearing is sponsored by the Golden Nugget.