Kris, Dale and their son Ethan live in middle Tennessee on the Cumberland Plateau. The Ballingers play music that ranges from old time fiddle tunes to gypsy swing to contemporary ballads. Along with their tight-knit vocals, Kris’ guitar work and Dale’s upright bass provide a solid foundation for Ethan to soar on mandolin and guitar.
Kris and Dale have been playing music for most of their lives, and since 1980 they have been making music together. They played with national fiddlin’ champion Frazier Moss for seven years and performed with fiddler Junior Daugherty at Carnegie Hall in NYC. As founding members of “The Cluster Pluckers” they have recorded five albums, played across the United States and toured Europe and Japan. Their TV appearances include Austin City Limits with Chet Atkins, Ken Burns’ Songs of the Civil War with Hoyt Axton, The Statler Brothers Show, Nashville Now, American Music Shop and Reno’s Old Time Music Festival. They were invited to Washington DC to represent Tennessee music at the Tennessee/Arkansas Celebration during President Clinton’s Inaugural festivities and performed again for Clinton and Gore in Nashville at a special event. They have played shows with Chet Atkins, John Hartford, Vassar Clements, The Everly Brothers, Bill Monroe, Sam Bush, Tim O’Brien, Alison Krauss, Faith Hill, Emmy Lou Harris, John Prine, Johnny Cash and many other great artists. For the last few years they have focused their attention on playing and performing with their son Ethan, who is a wonderful musician in his own right.
Ethan was jamming with Chet Atkins, John Hartford and Roy Acuff before the age of two. He started playing piano when he was eight, but his true passion for music blossomed when he started playing electric guitar at age ten. After several years of playing in rock and blues bands, Ethan then came full circle with a return to acoustic music. He currently plays and tours with several different groups including Missy Raines and the New Hip, The Alison Brown Band, and The Megan McCormick Band. Ethan’s original music has been featured on several PBS specials, two of which have been broadcast nationally, and one that recently won an Emmy. He released his first solo CD, Wish Upon A Falling Star, in the spring of 2008, which includes 16 original instrumental tunes. Mandolin Café said “Wish Upon A Falling Star is the most interesting mandolin CD of the year”. Ethan has just released his second CD, “Don’t Lose It” this spring. This is his first vocal album, with 9 intimate and emotionally charged songs.
The Ballinger Family Band did an 8-day tour in 2011 in Japan, playing a bluegrass festival at the foot of Mt Fuji and concerts in Osaka and Tokyo and a few other cities. In the fall of 2012 they did a 3-week tour in Scotland, playing in Edinburgh, Glasgow and several other cities across the country, as well as playing many concerts around the USA. They have done radio and television appearances, concerts in parks and festivals and recorded a self-titled CD.