Frankie Ballard‘s coaches at Western Michigan University may have noticed a change in the singer’s commitment during his final two seasons as the team’s starting shortstop and leadoff hitter. The ‘Helluva Life’ hitmaker admits he was distracted, to say the least.
For some college jocks, girls get in the way of athletic pursuits. For others, it’s some of the more devious distractions. For Ballard, it was his guitar. While he’d always played music and sang, the Battle Creek, Mich. native says he didn’t realize music could be a career until halfway through his junior year at the Kalamazoo, Mich. university.
“I would stay after practice and take an extra 300 ground balls,” Ballard says. “And then all of a sudden I was leaving early and heading to the blues jam.”
“My coach wouldn’t let me bring my guitar on the bus,” he adds with a smile, but clearly not joking. “I asked, but he wouldn’t let me.”
According to one Bronco Baseball blog, Ballard hit .296 as a senior in college — not too bad considering his active night gig. ‘Helluva Life’ just became his first Top 5 single. His new ‘Sunshine and Whiskey’ album is in stores now.
Is this the year the "selfie" stole the Oscars?
A self-portrait of host Ellen DeGeneres and stars including Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper taken during Hollywood's annual Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday quickly became the most shared photo ever on Twitter.
"We got an email from Twitter and we crashed and broke Twitter. We have made history," DeGeneres said shortly after access to the social media site was disrupted due to sharing of her star-studded picture.
Kevin Spacey, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and new Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o, also crowded into the picture, which was snapped by Cooper after DeGeneres mingled with stars seated in the audience.
"I've never tweeted before!" Streep, a three-time Oscar winner, gushed after Cooper snapped the photo with a mobile device.
DeGeneres shared the selfie via her Twitter feed here
It was shared, or retweeted, more than 2 million times in some two hours during the broadcast of the 86th annual Academy Awards.
The photo surpassed the record set by U.S. President Barack Obama's "Four More Years" re-election victory shot. The picture of Obama hugging first lady Michelle Obama on election night in 2012 has been retweeted more than 780,000 times.
Other widely shared photos from Sunday's Oscars included a DeGeneres selfie with Liza Minnelli, taken after the host made a biting comment about the appearance of the veteran actress and Broadway star.
A separate photo taken by a member of the audience showed Minnelli trying to get into DeGeneres' now famous Oscar selfie.
Lots of country stars say they played some rough places when they started out.
Randy Houser, from Lake, Miss., has the stories to back that up. Like the one about a fan named Rocky, who was at one of Randy’s shows.
“He was out there. Wasn’t really doing nothing wrong. He was just a little drunk,” Randy told ABC News Radio.
“And this one guy from another town came up and busted a beer bottle and slit his throat right there in front of us.”
“Next thing I know, I’ve thrown my guitar down, and I have this guy up against the wall with a beer bottle in his hand, up against the wall like I’m gonna do something,” Randy says.
“He could have easily, probably cut my throat, too. We all had to grab Rocky and put something around him. Keep him from bleeding to death.”
Sitting beside a former congressman from Kansas struggling with Alzheimer's, Seth Rogen opened up today before a Senate committee in Washington about his family's own personal battles with the disease.
Rogen, 31, began dating his now-wife Lauren Miller nine years ago when he met her parents for the first time.
He said after meeting the family, Miller admitted something was wrong with her mother Adele. Not long after that, her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's while only in her mid-50's.
The "Knocked Up" star, now an Alzheimer's Association celebrity Champion, said it came as little surprise since both of Adele's parents had the disease as well.
He said at the time, he was in the dark about the disease, thinking "it was something only really, really old people got" and involved "forgetting your keys and mismatched shoes."
"After forgetting who she and her loved one were," Rogen told the panel about his mother-in-law's struggles. "She forgot how to speak, feed herself, dress herself, all by age of 60."
Rogen said this opened his eyes to what families go through when someone they love has the disease.
"I came here today for few reasons," he testified. "One, I'm a huge 'House of Cards' fan. ... Two, people need more help. I've personally witnessed the massive amount of financial strain this disease causes. ... Three, to show people they are not alone, so few people share their personal stories."
Rogen explained that in a span of 35 years, 16 million Americans will have Alzheimer's -- a disease that experts explained is the most costly disease in America, topping $200 billion for those who need care, according to the Alzheimer's Association.
Rogen admitted the disease forced him to act. Along with his wife, they created "Hilarity for Charity," where they have began to inform teens about Alzheimer's.
He hopes this education campaign will change the stigma associated with the debilitating disease.
"Americans whisper the words Alzehimer's," he told lawmakers. "It's needs to be yelled and screamed."
A small fire brought firefighters to Loretta Lynn's residence in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., on Tuesday morning.
Humphreys County Emergency Management officials did not know whether the 81-year-old Country Music Hall of Famer was home when the fire started, but everyone inside the house got out safely.
According to Nashville television station WTVF, the fire took place in the building where Lynn lives, not the antebellum mansion on the same property where she and her husband raised their family. That building has been turned into a tourist attraction.
Another TV station reports that a candle caused a chair to catch on fire, but the flames were extinguished before crews arrived.
Last year, another fire destroyed the cook shack on Lynn's property.
Last November, Lynn, whose hits include Coal Miner's Daughter and Don't Come Home A'Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind), received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Egg McMuffin, meet the Waffle Taco.
Taco Bell is readying for the launch of its national breakfast menu on March 27, with items such as the A.M. Crunchwrap designed to appeal to its fan base of younger men. And the chain says breakfast will be available until 11 a.m. — a half hour longer than McDonald's offers its Egg McMuffins.
"We can turn the breakfast conversation into a two horse race," Taco Bell president Brian Niccol said in an interview, noting that Taco Bell intends to be a "strong No. 2" after McDonald's.
McDonald's has long been the fast-food leader in the mornings, with its popular Sausage Biscuits, Hotcakes and other items pulling in roughly 20 percent of the company's U.S. sales. But the chain has been facing stiffer competition in recent years, with competitors such as Starbucks and Subway rolling out breakfast sandwiches as well.
It's not clear how Taco Bell's entry into breakfast will alter the fast-food landscape. Last year, an executive with Taco Bell's parent company Yum Brands said that breakfast accounted for about 4 percent of sales in locations where it was tested. But that was before the chain put its full marketing might behind the menu, he noted.