Texas-born, Louisiana-raised pianist, vocalist and songwriter, Marcia Ball, is famed worldwide for igniting a full-scale roadhouse rhythm and blues party every time she strolls on stage. Ms. Ball’s groove-laden New Orleans boogie and rollicking Gulf Coast blues have made her a favorite with music fans all over the world. She’s also a master at transfixing her audience with an emotionally rich, passionately sung ballad.
Born in Orange, Texas in 1949 to a family whose female members all played piano, Ms. Ball began taking piano lessons at age five, playing old Tin Pan Alley tunes from her grandmother’s collection. From her aunt, she heard more modern and popular music. But it wasn’t until she was 13 that Ms. Ball discovered the power of soul music.
In 1970, Ms. Ball set out for San Francisco. Her car broke down in Austin and she 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 perfect 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. When the band broke up in 1974, Ms. Ball launched her solo career, debuting with the country-rock album Circuit Queen in 1978.