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Father’s Day at Zoo features country star Frankie Ballard

Country singer Frankie Ballard will be at the ABQ BioPark Zoo for Father’s Day. (Courtesy of Catherine Powell)

This year’s Father’s Day at the Zoo will have a country theme.

Country singer Frankie Ballard is headlining the event.

Though he’s not a father – yet – Ballard’s adjusting to married life. He married Christina Murphy on March 12.

“I have truly found my partner in life,” he says in a recent phone interview from Nashville, Tenn. “Anything I’m capable of is impossible without her. … She’s my family and best friend. It’s been amazing to be married, though I had to go to Europe for a month right after the wedding. I underestimated the balance.”

Ballard has released two albums. His first single, “Tell Me You Get Lonely” became a staple on radio. He then released the single, “A Buncha Girls” in 2011.

During the touring cycle for his first album, Ballard toured with Lady Antebellum.

He released his second album, “Sunshine & Whiskey” in 2014 and the album spawned three No. 1 singles, “Helluva Life,” “Young & Crazy” and the title track.

His latest album is “El Rio” and it was released in June 2016.

He worked with the likes of fellow country singers Kip Moore and Chris Stapleton on a few songs for the album.

Though Ballard’s home is in Nashville, when it came time to work on “El Rio,” he headed to Tornillo, Texas, near El Paso, to record at Sonic Ranch Studios.

“For this album, I was really trying to take the music to another level,” he says. “I’ve been on a level of refinement of what my influences are and how those relate to me as a musician now. Then I found Sonic Ranch, and I wanted to get as far away from Nashville as I could. El Paso became my home for a short time, and we had a spiritual experience.”

Ballard says being at Sonic Ranch also inspired him to take a different direction with his music.

“I think when you are marking art and being creative, your environment is everything,” he says. “Being down there on the border, I’m on one side of it and living my dream making music. Then the flip side is seeing right on the other side of the river and the people who are dealing with great struggle. It put me in a very thankful head space, and I feel very blessed.”

Ballard will play at the zoo from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 18.

He’s excited to get out on stage and perform songs from his entire catalog.

“We’ve got a few surprises for the crowd,” he says. “Right now, we’re getting everything set up to be spectacular. It’s been a while since I’ve been back to Albuquerque. I’ve always felt so loved there. I’m trying to return the favor each time I get back.”

And as a newlywed, Ballard is looking forward to seeing how being married influences his writing process.

He’s already begun writing for the next album.

“It’s interesting on how my perception of life has changed now,” he says. “I see a lot of things in a very different way. I feel more inspired now and am looking forward to making more music.”

Country singer Frankie Ballard is touring in support of his new album, “El Rio.” (Courtesy of Catherine Powell)