Country backup and session pianist Earl Poole Ball was born in Mississippi and moved to Southern California in the 1960s, where he appeared on albums by Buck Owens and the Byrds (Sweetheart of the Rodeo). In the 1970s, he was hired by Johnny Cash, whom he backed for 20 years, until Cash's retirement in the 1990s. Meanwhile, he found time to do recording sessions with other musicians including Jo-El Sonnier, George Jones, Marty Robbins, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Dale Watson, Sleepy LaBeef, James McMurtry, Merle Haggard, Rick Nelson, and Jason & the Scorchers. Ball made a rare appearance as a main artist when he covered "I Still Miss Someone" on the 2002 album Dressed in Black: A Tribute to Johnny Cash. In 2003, Lucky Tomblin recruited Ball for the Lucky Tomblin Band, and he appeared on the group's self-titled debut album, as well as In a Honky-Tonk Mood (2006) and Red Hot from Blue Rock (2007). Along with guitarist Redd Volkaert, also a member of the Lucky Tomblin Band, Ball formed HeyBale, which recorded The Last Country Album (2008), on which Ball wrote such songs as "Everything … About Drinkin'" and "Livin' in a Cheap Motel." He also maintained his membership in the Lucky Tomblin Band, however, and next appeared on the group's 2010 album Honky Tonk Merry Go Round. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi