Five-time Grammy nominee and 2012 Living Blues Award Winner (Female Blues Artist of the Year, Most Outstanding Musician, and Best Blues Album 2011) Marcia Ball is a living legend. She’s been inducted into the Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame, the Lousiana Music Hall of Fame, and is the recipient of no less than 9 Blues Music Awards. She was featured in a movie with Clint Eastwood, and has appeared on numerous national television and radio shows like Late Night With David Letterman, A Prairie Home Companion, Austin City Limits, CNN, and the Today Show. She’s performed at the White House with B.B. King and Della Reese, a show that was broadcast on PBS in 1999. It’s exhausting just trying to list her accolades.
“A sensational, saucy singer and superb pianist… where Texas stomp-rock and Louisiana blues-swamp meet” – USA Today
BY: Christine Thompson and Special Guest Writer Kelli Rhodes+
(Austin, TX) – September 3, 2012 – Singer/pianist Marcia Ball knows how to raise roofs and tear down walls with her infectious, intelligent and deeply emotional brand of southern boogie, rollicking, roadhouse blues and heartfelt ballads. Over the course of her four-decade career, Ball has earned a huge and intensely loyal following all over the world. Her exquisite piano playing and passionate, playful vocals fuse New Orleans and Gulf Coast R&B with Austin’s deep songwriting tradition into a sound No Depression described as “a little rock, a lot of roll, a pinch of rhythm and a handful of blues.”
Whether she is leading local charitable organizations like the Health Alliance For Austin Musicians (H.A.A.M.), scaring off Rick Perry with her protests for women’s rights, or tearing up Antone’s with her own brand of piano infused honky-tonk, Marcia Ball sets the example to the Austin Community. She proves that it takes not only courage to be a true power figure, but sometimes, it calls for a real Louisiana woman to get the job done right.
Ball’s most recent endeavor is H.O.M.E.: Housing Opportunities for Musicians and Entertainers. A project she fondly began as an effort to support her dear friend and the iconic blues singer-songwriter and performer, Miss Lavelle White, who had recently lost her home. Still performing at age 83, Miss Lavelle’s powerhouse voice and songwriting ability has been a testament to the fact that the music forever continues on, and bringing to light the struggles that face aging musicians. “There is no retirement plan, no 401K, and it’s common that you [musicians] get to that place and there’s no place to go,” Ball explains.
Several of Austin’s female leaders in the music community have united to come to the aid of Miss Lavelle. The all-star H.O.M.E. line up of advocates includes: Nancy Fly, Nancy Coplin, Deb Fleming, Sarah Brown, Shelley King, Carolyn Wonderland, Susan Antone, Ruthie Foster, Denise Boudreaux, Bev Shaw, Sara Hickman and Cindy Cashdollar. The organization has raised the funds via facebook, email, and world-wide contributions. The organization has been met with great success. They have already raised a year’s worth of rent for Ms. Lavelle, as well as provided her with medical services, and lawyers to sort out copyright revenue and social security income.
H.O.M.E. will have a show at Antone’s on October 1st 2012. There will be a silent auction (they are still looking for some nice donations) that night, and the show will be recorded and turned into a Live CD. Release is targeted before the holidays and planned to be sold at Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. CD Release show will be a second fund raiser on December 26th – also at Antones. TICKETS HERE
Women supporting one another is a cause that Ball has always encouraged, even inciting her organization of the vigil protests: Seeing Red. In March 2012, Ball led the masses to the capitol, decked out in red attire, to march against Perry’s anti-abortion act, which drastically reduced women’s health care. “I’m mad all over again, everytime I read the papers, and they’re still at it,” Ball lamented on the topic. Yet, Ball has found a way to filter the negativity: through the positive collaboration of music. From her work with H.O.M.E, to her participation in W.I.M.P.S, the Women in Music Professional Society, which hosts a monthly luncheon for women in the industry, Ball rallies around the sentiment that community is family.
The importance of family has truly inspired her musical career. Ball discovered she was expecting a child during the very moments she was at the crossroad of deciding whether or not she would continue as a musician. Yet, Marcia Ball didn’t give up. She took her dreams into her own hands, and continued onward. “I started my own band, because I knew I had to call the shots: to be able to say this is when we are going, where were going, and for how long, and that person in the corner is the nanny that is going to be holding my baby while we play,” Ball told, recalling the memory.
The quality that allows Marcia Ball to excel as a mother, advocate, and performer is that she is a fearless innovator who never seems to rest in her efforts to take care of her loved ones and the causes that move her.
Marcia Ball H.A.A.M. PSA – She’s encouraging everyone to come out for H.A.A.M. benefit day October 2nd, 2012 and listen to some outstanding musicians as they play in unusual places throughout the day.
+ Guest writer Kelli Rhodes, from Austin Fusion Magazine.