Bluegrass band ‘ballhog

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Ballhog!, a seven-piece acoustic band formed in Nashville in 2000, is celebrating the release of its self-titled debut album May 19 at the Exit/In. The party begins at 9 p.m. with Theresa Anderson, followed by an unprecedented acoustic set from Old Union, then Ballhog! will wrap up this musical evening. Tickets are $8 each and can be purchased at the door or at www.ticketmaster.com. This is an 18 and over show.

Ballhog!, a 12-song album, features the songwriting talents of Randy Russell, guitarist Jamey Wood and banjo player Craig Boerner. When combined with "The Junkyard Horns," Chris West and Patrick Dolan, bassist Toby Leonard and drummer Andrew Swift, this seven-headed monster, which was aptly named for a selfish athlete, is complete. Old Union Dobro player Stephen "Spotty" Swertfeger is also featured on the album.

Ballhog! gracefully combines its three singer/songwriters with experienced musicianship to create a diverse sound that can only be classified as "original" music.

"We were two bands who came together and formed a coalition," vocalist/mandolin player Randy Russell said. "The mix of a traditional string band (guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass, and Dobro) with drums and a horn section is purely coincidental. Those are the instruments this group of friends brought to the table."

"We’ve come a long way in five years," Russell said. "Our musicians are contributing so much to the arrangements that I think our songwriters are becoming more musical."

"Now we’re starting to write ‘Ballhog!’ songs, which means we’ve created a sound, and that’s exciting."