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 Eastwoodincluded 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.
With her new album, "Shine Bright," Ball set out to, in her words, “Make the best Marcia Ball record I could make.” In doing so, she has put together the most musically substantial, hopeful and uplifting set of songs of her five-decade career. Produced by Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) and recorded in Texas and Louisiana, Shine Bright contains twelve songs (including nine originals), ranging from the title track’s rousing appeal for public and private acts of courage to the upbeat call to action of "Pots And Pans," a song inspired by renowned Texas political writer and humoristMolly Ivins. From the humorous advice of "Life Of The Party" to the poignantly optimistic "World Full Of Love," the intensity of Ball’s conviction never wavers while, simultaneously, the fun never stops. Shine Bright is exactly the album Ball set out to make. “It is a ridiculously hopeful, cheerful record,” she says, in light of some of the album’s more serious subject matter. The secret, according to Ball “is to set the political songs to a good dance beat.”
“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