Sat November 16, 2013
marc on the blues

Marcia Ball Pulls The Austin, New Orleans Music Scenes Together

Marcia Ball was born in Orange, Texas, and grew up in Vinton, Louisiana. That’s appropriate because she brings the music worlds of Texas and Louisiana together in a way that salutes the past while never being anything short of modern and original.

Ball is a member of a musical family and began playing piano when she was age 5. Very early on she developed a love for the styles of Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, and James Booker. It is important to note that those are all New Orleans players. Marcia’s vocal style was strongly influenced by her love of Irma Thomas, a lady that Ball has called “THE New Orleans vocalist.”

Marcia Ball went to Louisiana State University during the Acid Rock era and at that time she was a member of a band called Gum, who played in the Psychedelic Rock style of the day. In 1970 she joined a Progressive Country Band called Freda and the Firedogs who played a lot in the Austin, Texas, area.

While the Psychedelic Rock and Progressive Country can be clearly heard in her music, it is for the elements of Zydeco, Swamp Blues, Louisiana Blues and Boogie Woogie in her piano playing that Ball is best known. Her powerful and playful vocals contribute to making her shows among the most delightful rollicking affairs you’ll ever enjoy.

The Greeley Blues Jam obviously thinks her shows are something special. She is the only artist the Jam has yet booked for a return appearance as a main stage headliner.

What I like the most about Marcia Ball is her fusion of her days in Austin, Texas, spent with different styles of bands and the influences of her preferred New Orleans piano mentors.

She plays a lot in New Orleans and Austin, as well as clubs and festivals throughout the U.S. - as well as overseas. Wherever she plays, Ball leaves some mighty good feelings behind.

You can hear some of Marcia Ball’s music this week on Nine O’clock Blues. We’ll also hear from Bob Margolin and James Cotton.


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