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Booking Marcia Ball - Blues Music Artists - Swamp Blues, Louisiana Blues, Piano Blues, Modern Electric Blues, Blues/Folk, Contemporary Blues - © Richard De La Font Agency, Inc. - For serious booking requests only, click here: For More Information
Singer/pianist Marcia Ball knows how to raise roofs and tear down walls with her infectious, intelligent and deeply emotional brand of southern boogie, rollicking, roadhouse blues and heartfelt ballads. Over the course of her three-decade career, Ball has earned a huge and intensely loyal following all over the world.
Her exquisite piano playing and passionate, playful vocals fuse New Orleans and Gulf Coast R&B with Austin's deep songwriting tradition into a sound No Depression described as "a little rock, a lot of roll, a pinch of rhythm and a handful of blues." According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "Ball is the bayou queen of the piano, steeped in blues and honky-tonk. When revved...she's a rollicking dynamo spewing heat-seeking triplets from the ivories while her horn-driven band wails. She's also a subtle songwriter and a formidable singer with a wisp of huskiness edging her Cajun-Texan twang."
Marcia Ball's Alligator Records debut (the ninth album of her career), "Presumed Innocent," is a tour-de-force of potent, imaginative songs fueled by leg-swinging boogie, deeply original, rocking blues and heart-stopping ballads.
Born in Orange, Texas, in 1949 to a family whose female members all played piano, Ball grew up in the small town of Vinton, Louisiana, right across the Texas border. She began taking piano lessons at age five, listening to and playing old Tin Pan Alley tunes from her grandmother's collection. From her aunt, Marcia heard more modern and popular music.
But it wasn't until she was 13 that Marcia Ball discovered the blues, as she sat amazed as Irma Thomas delivered the most soulful and spirited performance the young teenager had ever seen. According to Ball, "she just blew me away, she caught me totally unaware. Once I started my own band, the first stuff I was doing was Irma's." In 1966, she attended Louisiana State University, where she played some of her very first gigs with a blues-based rock band called Gum, whose repertoire included more than one Irma Thomas song.
After graduating in 1970, Ball set out for San Francisco. Her car broke down in Austin, Texas, and while waiting for repairs, she fell in love with the city and decided to stay. It wasn't long before Ball was performing in the city's clubs with a blues-influenced progressive country band called Freda and the Firedogs while beginning to hone her songwriting skills. It was around this time that Ball delved deeply into the music of the great New Orleans piano players, especially Professor Longhair. "Once I found out about Professor Longhair," recalls Ball, "I knew I had found my direction."
When the band broke up in 1974, Marcia Ball launched her solo career, signing to Capitol Records and debuting with the bluesy, country-soul album "Circuit Queen" in 1978. She released a number of critically acclaimed Rounder albums during the 1980s and 1990s, including "Soulful Dress," "Hot Tamale Baby," "Gatorhythms," "Blue House" and "Let Me Play With Your Poodle."
In 1990, Marcia Ball – collaborating with Angela Strehli and Lou Ann Barton – recorded the hugely successful "Dreams Come True" on the Antone's label. At the end of 1997, Marcia finished work on a similar "three divas of the blues" project for Rounder, this time in the distinguished company of Tracy Nelson and Ball's longtime inspiration, Irma Thomas. The album, "Sing It!," was released in January 1998 and was nominated for both a GRAMMY and a W.C. Handy Blues Award as Best Contemporary Blues Album.
While her studio albums have won her fans around the globe, Marcia Ball's dynamic live performances keep them coming back for more. Playing more than 100 shows a year, she has appeared at virtually every major festival in the United States, received glowing reviews in all major music publications, and has been featured on leading radio and television programs, including Austin City Limits and National Public Radio's Fresh Air and Piano Jazz. She received the 1998 W.C. Handy Blues Award for Contemporary Female Vocalist of the Year and was nominated again in 2000 and in 2001 for Best Blues Instrumentalist-Keyboards. In 1999, Marcia and her band appeared in the nationally televised Public Television special In Performance At The White House along with B.B. King and Della Reese.
Ball's move to Alligator Records is a major milestone in her career and a very exciting time for her personally. "I'm thrilled to be on Alligator," says Ball. "I have high hopes and I feel like I really will be a priority. Alligator is a solid blues label and that will definitely work to my advantage." Alligator president Bruce Iglauer agrees. "I've been a fan of Marcia's for years, and I've watched her grow from being a terrific interpreter of New Orleans and Texas blues and R&B into an excellent songwriter who can deliver a ballad that really touches your heart. Marcia Ball has one of the biggest, most devoted cult followings of any roots music artist, and she earns it by delivering some of the best party music and the most soulful, deepest blues and ballads night after night."
If Marcia Ball's transgression is stirring souls with her ballads and tearing down roofs with her rollicking boogies and blues, she's very much guilty as charged. Full-tilt or subtle as the moment demands, this unabashed powerhouse is at home playing roadhouse rock, jump-blues, second line syncopation (a la Professor Longhair), R&B, deep soul, and ballads. What's more, her great singing and songwriting are matched by superb piano playing that is eclectic and effective.
Notable songs include -- .
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