"Based in Austin and steeped in New Orleans, Marcia Ball plumbs the richness of both musical meccas. From rootsy swamp pop and blues-drenched boogie woogie to languid ballads, Ball is equally comfortable with brash roadhouse romps and caressing love songs." USA Today
Texas-born, Louisiana-raised pianist/vocalist/songwriter Marcia Ball will celebrate the release of her new Alligator Records CD, Roadside Attractions, on Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at the World Music Cafe in Philadelphia. Ball's groove-laden New Orleans R&B, heart-wrenching ballads and driving Gulf Coast blues have made her a one-of-a-kind favorite of music fans all over the world. Her music mixes equal parts simmering soul fervor and rollicking Crescent City piano. Over the course of her career, Ball's infectious, intelligent and deeply emotional songs have won her a loud and loyal fan base all over the world. Roadside Attractions is Ball's fifth release for Alligator. Three of her previous four CDs have received Grammy nominations. Ball has also collected seven Blues Music Awards since 2001, including the 2009 Pinetop Perkins Piano Player Of The Year" award, and was voted Female Blues Artist Of The Year" and Most Outstanding MusicianPiano" in the 2009 Living Blues Readers' Poll. Ball was inducted into the Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame in 2010. Concert information is as follows:
Date: Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Venue: World Music CafeDownstairs Live
Address: 3025 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA
Showtime: 7:30pm: Ticket price: $25
Produced by famed songwriter, musician and producer Gary Nicholson (Delbert McClinton, Wynonna Judd, T. Graham Brown), Roadside Attractions finds Marcia Ball at a creative peak. Ball wrote or co-wrote every song-something she had never done over the course of her forty-year career. Throughout the proceedings, her stellar musicians add power and nuance to the music, perfectly complementing Ball's expert piano playing, slice-of-life lyrics and melodic, storytelling vocals.
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 border from Texas. She began taking piano lessons at age five, 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 discovered the power of soul music. One day in 1962, she sat amazed while Irma Thomas delivered the most spirited performance the young teenager had ever seen.
In 1970, Ball set out for San Francisco. Her car broke down in Austin, and while waiting for repairs she fell in love with the city and decided to stay. It wasn't long before she was performing in the city's clubs with a progressive country band called Freda And The Firedogs, while beginning to hone her songwriting skills. It was around this time that she 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 launched her solo career, signing to Capitol Records and debuting with the country-rock album Circuit Queen in 1978. Discovering and honing her own sound, she released six critically acclaimed titles on the Rounder label during the 1980s and 1990s. Her recordings and performances received glowing reviews in major music publications, and Marcia was featured on leading television and radio programs, including Austin City Limits and NPR's Fresh Air and Piano Jazz.
Since the release of her Alligator debut Presumed Innocent in 2001, Ball has received more popular and critical acclaim than ever before. 2003's So Many Rivers continued the push forward, with Billboard declaring, Ball is a consummate pro-a killer pianist, a great singer and songwriter. Powerful. Righteous." 2005's Live! Down The Road received equally impressive praise. The New Orleans Times-Picayune said simply, Bayou boogie has a queen and her name is Marcia Ball." Billboard said, Peace, Love & BBQ is a welcome ray of sunshine. This is a potent batch of tunes, highlighted by Ball's keyboard mastery."
Living the life she loves, Marcia has no plans of slowing down anytime soon. Forty years of roadside attractions and the life of roaming 'round has never worn thin," she proudly says. I love it when the wheels start rolling, when the band starts playing, when the crowds start dancing." Now, with Roadside Attractions and a long list of high profile tour dates, Ball will bring her blend of Texas roadhouse boogie and Louisiana swamp blues to fans around the globe. What's not to like about Marcia Ball?" asked The Austin Chronicle. Scrumptious, Southern-fried boogies, blues, and ballads with the infectious street beat of New Orleans at the core." Clearly, in whatever city she performs or wherever her songs play, there is no better roadside attraction than the foot-stomping, soul-stirring music of the great Marcia Ball.