Marcia Ball, Queen of New Orleans boogie-woogie piano, has earned worldwide fame for her ability to ignite a full-scale roadhouse rhythm and blues party every time she strolls onto the stage. Her 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 worldwide. In 2010, she was inducted into the Gulf Coast Hall Of Fame and in 2012 into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. She’s received a total of six Living Blues Awards and nine Blues Music Awards (and has a whopping 42 nominations). She’s received five Grammy Award nominations, including five of her six previous Alligator albums.
Born in Orange, TX 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. In 1970, she set out for San Francisco, but her car broke down in Austin and while waiting for repairs she fell in love with the city and decided to stay. 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.”
After releasing six critically acclaimed solo titles on the Rounder label, Marcia finished work on a similar “three divas of the blues” project for Rounder, this time in the distinguished company of Tracy Nelson and her longtime inspiration, Irma Thomas. The CD "Sing It!" was released in 1998 and was nominated for a Grammy. In 1999, Marcia and band appeared in the nationally televised Public Television special In Performance At The White House along with B.B. King and Della Reese. She has been featured on leading television and radio programs, including Austin City Limits, NPR’s Fresh Air and Piano Jazz. She performed in "Piano Blues," the film directed by Clint Eastwood included in Martin Scorsese’s "The Blues" series which aired on PBS television nationwide in 2003. Marcia has also appeared on The Late Show With David Letterman. In 2012, she had a role in the independent film "Angels Sing" starring Harry Connick, Jr., Lyle Lovett and Willie Nelson.
Her newest album, "The Tattooed Lady And The Alligator Man," is an irresistible tale of true love at the travelling 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 pounding and emotional, melodic vocals, the song kicks off the CD of eleven originals and one glorious cover (Hank Ballard’s "He’s The One"). 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.
“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.” - New York Times
"Ball’s voice can break your heart with a ballad or break your back with a rocker." - Boston Herald
"Marcia Ball’s rollicking R&B rave-ups, her barrelhouse playing, her relentlessly feel-good party tunes, and her soulful roadhouse band are iconic in the Gulf Coast music universe." - USA Today