David Ball was born into a musical family headed by his Baptist preacher father. Later he moved with his family to Spartanburg, South Carolina. There he was able to persuade his parents to buy him a guitar - a Stella. Having written his first song in seventh grade, he played it in a school talent show with a band he had formed, the Strangers. Afterwards, he played bass in various local youth groups and also the school orchestra. Together with friends he played various bluegrass and country festivals in the Carolinas.
By the time Ball left high school he was a proficient stand-up bass player, readily able to adapt to classical, country, bluegrass and swing. He was also a member of Uncle Walt's Band, a trio headed by Walter Hyatt who relocated to Austin, Texas, in the mid-70s, in an attempt to make a mainstream breakthrough.
He subsequently graduated to a solo career, moving to Nashville where he was signed to a publishing contract. Three singles for RCA Records in the late 1980s failed to provide a solo breakthrough, however, and a projected album was shelved. The experience did at least serve to introduce him to producer Blake Chancey, son of legendary country producer Ron Chancey. In the spring of 1993, Chancey rang Warner Brothers Records director Doug Grau on Ball's behalf. A new recording contract followed. Thinkin' Problem retained Chancey's services and duly attracted a rapturous reception in the country music press, with its hard-edged realism and taut, emotive delivery. The title track, "Look What Followed Me Home" and "When The Thought Of You Catches Up With Me" were the best examples of this material, which placed him firmly within the Hank Williams tradition of resigned but evocative country balladeers.
Ball recorded two more albums for the label, without much chart success. However, he had a smash hit with "Riding With Private Malone" from the 2001 album Amigo. The album Freewheeler followed in 2004.