Friday, January 6, 2012

Marcia Ball Plays Lake Worth

Queen of Boogie-Woogie, Marcia Ball, Plays the Bamboo Room

By Skip Sheffield

Marcia Ball is hands-down the hottest piano-pounder in the world of blues and boogie-woogie. The long tall Texan and Alligator Records recording artist is making a rare local appearance with her band at 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7 at the newly-revitalized Bamboo Room, 25 S. J Street, Lake Worth,
“I’m so glad the Bamboo Room is open again,” she said recently from somewhere on the road. “It’s one of the nicest venues in Florida for the blues, and we do love Florida.”
Ball not only pummels her piano, she sings the blues and writes about them too. Every song on her latest album, “Roadside Attractions,” was either written or co-written by her.
“It’s a very personal album,’ she says. “It’s about life on the road. You see a lot of strange and interesting things. I have never tired of it.”
Ball has been “on the road’ for more than 40 years. She was born into a musical family in 1949 in Orange, Texas and began taking piano lessons at age 5. In 1970 she set out for San Francisco, but her car broke down near the musical Mecca of Austin, Texas. After playing in several bands, she set out on her own in 1974. Ball recorded on Capital Records and Rounder Records before landing on the nation’s premiere blues label, Alligator Records of Chicago, in 2001, At Alligator three of her first four albums have earned Grammy nominations and she has amassed seven Blues Music awards since 2001. In 2009 she won the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year Award. In 2011 Living Blues Readers’ Poll declared her Female Blues Artist of the Year and Most Outstanding Musician- Keyboard.
The Pinetop Perkins Award was especially meaningful to Ball. She was a personal friend to Perkins and one of five pianists- the only woman- to play a Pinetop Perkins memorial concert in Austin.
“It’s a brutal business,” Ball reflects. “But we have lasted longer than most. My bass player Don Bennett has been with me 40 years. Not everyone gets to do what we do, but we love it. That’s why we last.”
The love is returned. Marcia Ball headlines a “Blues Cruise” Jan. 8-15 to St. Barts, St. Kitts and Nevis. In March her band will perform at music festivals in Switzerland and Spain.
Tickets are $32 and $37. Call 561-585-2583 or go to

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