When: Thu., Feb. 8, 8 p.m. 2018
Texas-born, Louisiana-raised Marcia Ball's groove-laden New Orleans boogie, deeply soulful ballads and rollicking Gulf Coast blues have made her a one-of-a-kind favorite with music fans all over the world. She's received a total of five Grammy Award nominations, ten Blues Music Awards (and a whopping 44 nominations), and seven Living Blues Awards. She has been inducted into both the Gulf Coast Music Hall Of Fame and the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame. The title track of Marcia Ball's new album, The Tattooed Lady And The Alligator Man, is an irresistible tale of true love at the traveling carnival. It's a story that nobody but Ball could spin, filled with vivid details, universal truths, and a rambunctious sense of fun and desire. With raucous horns punctuating Ball's legendary piano virtuosity and emotional, melodic vocals, the song kicks off a CD of eleven dazzling originals and one stirring cover. The release mixes Ball's Gulf Coast blues, New Orleans R&B, swampy Louisiana ballads, and jumping, Tex-Mex flavored zydeco into a one-of-a-kind musical gumbo, a sound she has been perfecting over the course of her legendary career. 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 and popular music tunes from her grandmother's collection. But it wasn't until she was 13 that Marcia discovered the power of soul music. One day in 1962, she sat amazed as Irma Thomas performed in her hometown and delivered the most spirited and moving performance the young teenager had ever seen. A few years later she attended Louisiana State University, where she played some of her very first gigs with a blues-based rock band called Gum. 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 local clubs with a progressive country band called Freda And The Firedogs, while beginning to sharpen 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 Freda And The Firedogs broke up in 1974, Ball launched her solo career, playing clubs around Austin and the Gulf Coast. Releasing a solo LP in 1978 for Capitol and six highly successful albums on Rounder, Ball become a bona fide star, playing festivals, concert halls and clubs all over the country. Ball's rollicking piano playing, husky and soulful vocals, incisive songwriting and captivating stage presence have made her one of blues and roots music's most sought-after live performers. She joined the Alligator Records family in 2001 with the release of the critically acclaimed Presumed Innocent. The CD took home the 2002 Blues Music Award for Blues Album Of The Year. Ball's subsequent Alligator releases, including her most recent, 2014's The Tattooed Lady And The Alligator Man, have all received both critical and popular acclaim, with four of her six Alligator releases receiving Grammy nominations. Since founding her own band, Ball has never stopped writing, recording and touring. Her popularity and her audience have continued to grow with each new album and every performance. The New York Times says, "Marcia Ball plays two-fisted New Orleans barrelhouse piano and sings in a husky, knowing voice about all the trouble men and women can get into on the way to a good time." Living Blues declares, "Her originals sound like timeless classics and southern soul masterpieces that no one else can imitate."