David Ball was born in Rock Hill, SC, on July 9, 1953. The son of a Baptist minister father and musician mother, Ball started playing the ukulele as a young boy, but by age 12 had switched to guitar. After high school, he and hometown friends Walter Hyatt and Champ Hood moved to Nashville, where they scraped out a living as Uncle Walt's Band. The going was tough, and eventually the trio moved to Austin, TX, hoping to find greener pastures. There Ball and his friends matured as musicians, playing covers of popular folk and roots numbers, but also writing and performing their own compositions. Ball played bass, sang lead, and also contributed backup vocals. Uncle Walt's Band was a hit in Austin, where the music scene was more progressive and hungry young players like Lyle Lovett would pack the group's dancehall shows. The band released three successful albums before breaking up in 1983 as its members pursued solo careers.