Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Marcia Ball at Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2

Born in Orange, Texas, raised in nearby Vinton, Louisiana, Marcia Ball played piano from age five, playing old Tin Pan Alley and popular music tunes from her grandmother's collection. At age 13, she discovered blues and soul music in New Orleans, and this formed her style of playing. She played in a blues-based rock band called Gum while in college and in 1970, at age 21, she started a progressive country band called Freda and the Firedogs in Austin, Texas. The band split in 1974 and Ball began her solo career, playing clubs in and around Austin, Houston and Louisiana. She has recorded 12 studio albums and additional collaborations. She has won 10 Blues Music Awards and 10 Living Blues Awards, and has been inducted into the Gulf Coast Music Hall Of Fame, the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame, and the Austin Music Hall of Fame. The Texas State legislature named her the official 2018 Texas State Musician. On October 25, 2018, Ball will be inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame. Her most recent album, Shine Bright, was released on April 20, 2018.

Ball and her band performed two sets tonight at Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2, and blended an amalgam of southern roots music into her original songs. Her fingers played a rollicking barrelhouse and boogie woogie, but her saucy voice came from a smoldering Texas blues. Her band added to the Gulf Coast regional flavors, playing stomping roadhouse grooves. Ball's husky vocals gave a swampy feel to the few ballads in the set. Together Ball and her band ignited a rhythm and blues set fit for a Mardi Gras party, especially when they encouraged a sing-along on a new song, the tongue-in-cheek "Life of the Party."

Visit Marcia Ball at www.marciaball.com.