Ava Barber became a professional singer at age ten and joined the cast of the Bonnie Lou and Buster syndicated TV show at age 15. She proved popular and began appearing at local clubs and barn dances, and also released her first single, "Atlanta." At her mother's urging, Barber wrote to Lawrence Welk and wound up auditioning several months later in a tent with a piano at a golf tournament the bandleader was playing in. She appeared regularly on his show from 1974 to 1982, also touring with him. Barber signed to Ranwood Records in 1976 and scored seven country hits between 1977 and 1981, the most successful of which was "Bucket to the South" (#14) in 1978. She also toured extensively on the U.S. and Canada county fair and concert circuit. After Welk's show ended, she sometimes toured with former colleague Dick Dale. In 1990, Barber and Dale opened the Rainbow Music Theater in Pigeon Forge.