Marcia Ball bangs out boogie-woogie blues

Marcia Ball will perform at The Palms on Thursday, Nov. 16, for the first time in several years; John Maxwell will open. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $25. Photo by Mary Keating Bruton

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“Long tall Marcia Ball” is the hottest blues, rhythm and blues, and funky piano player this side of Professor Longhair himself. A Louisiana native who’s now based in Austin, Texas, blues singer and pianist Marcia Ball plays a knock-down honky-tonk style of piano that blends the orneriness of blues with the sweet rolling rhythms of New Orleans R&B.

Ball will bring her distinctive and infectious sound and full band to The Palms Playhouse on Thursday, Nov. 16. Slide guitarist John Maxwell will open.

Pianist, vocalist and songwriter Ball brings the spirit of Louisiana and Texas roadhouse clubs and dancehalls to every concert she plays and every song she records. Her music is mixed with equal parts simmering soul fervor and two-fisted piano pounding. Between her deeply emotive vocals and her incisive, often poignant songwriting, Ball is in a class by herself. Her groove-laden New Orleans R&B and driving Gulf Coast blues have made her a one-of-a-kind favorite of music fans all over the world.

Ball’s red-hot piano-playing, powerful vocal delivery, and talented touring band take audiences from up-tempo blues numbers to poignant songs about hard times along the Gulf Coast to rollicking R&B. Ball’s command of the piano speaks of the rich blues piano tradition of her native Louisiana, and her husky, sultry vocals are at once biting and seductive. Like Bonnie Raitt, Ball moves easily and convincingly between rousing rockers and emotive ballads.

Ball has received a number of plum awards, including five wins for Keyboard Player of the Year / Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year at the Blues Music Awards, two BMAs for Contemporary Blues Album of the Year, one win for Contemporary Blues Artist of the Year-Female and a string of Grammy nominations for Best Blues Album. Ball will be the official Texas State Musician for 2018, an honorary post previously held by the likes of Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Flaco Jiménez and George Strait.

On her latest release “The Tattooed Lady and the Alligator Man” (Alligator Records), Ball draws her listeners deep into her music with memorable melodies and imaginative imagery. Her songs paint vibrant musical pictures richly detailed with characters, flavors and scenes straight out of Louisiana, Texas and the Gulf Coast. On this album, her eleventh, Ball delivers a set of songs full of her own brew of soulful barrelhouse stomp featuring her road-tested road band and a cadre of blues, country and rock luminary guests.

Guitarist John Maxwell will open the show. Maxwell cut his teeth on blues music, then headed into country, bluegrass and jazz, leapt into punk rock to found the seminal band Eye Protection before coming back home to the blues. Maxwell, who is particularly noted for his slide guitar playing, has opened for such artists as Susan Tedeschi and Roy Rogers. He recently released his first solo album, “Blues for Evangeline.”

Tickets are $25 and are available at Pacific Ace Hardware in Winters, Armadillo Music in Davis, Davids’ Broken Note in Woodland, online via The Palms’ website and at the door if not sold out.

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