Marcia Ball rocks Telluride Blues & Brews Festival on Sunday

Marcia Ball rocks Telluride Blues & Brews Festival on Sunday


RA- MBposterbio Marcia Ball hit the jackpot with her name. It defines the lady and her talent, as in Marcia Ball is:

“More fun than a barrel of funky monkeys. Spicy, Texas-Louisiana blues, rock ‘n’ roll and boogie-woogie…awesome piano,” National Public Radio

Translation: The lady is, well, a ball. And those around have – you guessed it – a ball.

Singer/pianist Marcia Ball joins Willie Nelson, Mavis Staple, The Robert Cray Band, Dweezil Zappa, BIg Head Todd and the Monsters on long list of talent performing this weekend at Steve Gumble’s rocking, rollicking 18th annual Telluride Blues & Brews Festival.

Critics agree what Ball does best is sugar and spice. Everything sounding very nice: “caressing love songs”  (USA Today) Texas blues, Louisiana swamp ballads. She sums up: ‘”it’s a great life set to music.”

Marcia Ball’s latest release, Roadside Attractions, in which she wrote or co-wrote all 12 tunes, amounts to a rorschach – another one, ’cause she has always written her life story into her sounds. Through her words, we discover a pragmatic optimist–  “I help you and you help me/That’s the way the world should be” – who hedges her bets with sugar:  “A little sugar makes your day complete/you can keep your mustard greens/just give those pecan pralines.”

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 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. At age 13, Ball discovered the power of soul.

In 1970,  Marcia 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 Austin’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, who helped set her direction on the ivories.

Fast forward to the present. After 40 years and counting, Ball is still living the good life. She still loves it “when the wheels start rolling, when the band starts playing, when the crowds start dancing.” With Roadside Attractions, Ball plans to travel the globe to feed hungry crowds her special recipe of Southern-fried sounds. Highly caloric. Delicious. 

To learn more about Marcia Ball, her life and work, click the “play” button and listen to our chat.

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