Michael Ballew had to go full circle before finding the place where he belonged. A native of Texas, he began his musical career in the region's bars and other rowdy nightspots. He was playing four sets each evening when he made the decision to strike out and try to make his mark in California during the 1960s. On the West Coast, the singer/songwriter took a turn toward rock & roll and achieved a higher level of success than he'd had back home in Texas. His first contract offer came in 1967 from White Whale Records. In time, offers also came in from major labels Warner Bros., Columbia, EMI America, Liberty, and Pentagram. Ballew and his West Coast-based rock bands hit the charts several times, and they backed a number of the day's big names, among them Steppenwolf, Loggins & Messina, Eric Burdon & the Animals, and Country Joe & the Fish.
Despite the good times, Texas and country music were calling him home. He headed to Austin in 1976, in part because several of the city's musical artists had recorded works he'd written. Still based in that city, he travels frequently across the state and performs with a long list of country artists. Among them are Alan Jackson, Leroy Parnell, Asleep at the Wheel, Willie Nelson, Michael Martin Murphy, Jerry Jeff Walker, Bonnie Raitt, and Doc Watson. Ballew's music has been featured in films and on television, including Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and The Dolly Parton Christmas Special. Starting in 1992, the singer/songwriter toured Europe 14 times, with stops in Denmark, Switzerland, Holland, Germany, and Austria. When George Bush was inaugurated as Texas' governor in 1995, Ballew was there performing at Austin's Frank Erwin Center. In 2002, he and his group of backing musicians, the Damn Good Texas Band, played festivals in the Czech Republic, Germany, and France. Ballew had some chart success with "Pretending Fool" and "Your Daddy Don't Live in Heaven (He's in Houston)." ~ Linda Seida, Rovi