Marcia Ball set to rock Blues Summit, Saturday at Crystal Bay
Even the most reluctant of dancefloor participants lose their inhibitions when Marcia Ball is on the bandstand.
Ball has numerous blues awards, which is a bit deceptive because she’s a boogie-woogie pianist.
A resident of Austin, Texas, Ball originally is from Vinton, La., right on the Texas border, where her high school classmate was Bobby Kimball, who went on to be the lead singer for Toto.
“Music is just so much a part of any life in Louisiana,” Ball said. “We came out of an area where people danced for fun. Weekend dances were so important in our lives.”
Ball headlines the Crystal Bay’s second annual Blues Summit on Saturday with renowned slide guitarist Roy Rogers. Make no mistake ” this event shouldn’t be called a concert. It’s a dance.
“Roy’s the best country blues pickin’ guy that there is,” Ball said. “We’re friends, but I’d say that anyway.”
Ball, whose last appearance at Crystal Bay was New Year’s Eve 2006, has a new album and a new guitarist ” Andrew Nasziger.
“He has a very broad background,” Ball said. “He’s not just a blues player. I’m very excited about Andrew. He teaches quite a bit here, and he’s been playing with Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison.”
Alligator Records will release the new studio album “Peace, Love and Barbecue” in April.
” ‘Peace, Love and Barbecue’ definitely expresses what I was trying to say in general and in specific,” Ball said. “We need a whole lot more peace, love and barbecue. I was hoping to come up with some good, fun, inspiring stuff.
“I feel that this is least as good a record (as her last studio album, ‘So Many Rivers’). It’s very personal to me. It’s very much my favorite record I’ve made to my tastes since ‘Gator Rhythms,’ which was the first record I made that I put a lot of my own material on. I’m saying a lot of stuff I really wanted to say.”
Ball, who said songwriting is the most rewarding part of her art, penned eight of the album’s 13 tracks. Alligator representatives are excited about the song “Miracle in Knoxville.”
“It’s an unusual-sounding, spooky song, and I think it’s going to be the first single,” Ball said. “It takes place at a tent revival show.”
Hurricane Katrina inspired two of the songs. Ball frequently performs in New Orleans.
“Tracy Nelson and I wrote a song called ‘Where Do You Go When You Can’t Go Home,’ she said. “It’s really kind of bigger than Katrina. It addresses poverty and homelessness. And there’s also a song called ‘Ride it Out,’ which a song I’ve always wanted to write about people who don’t leave the hurricane. They ride it out.”
While Ball’s concerts can be emotional, 95 percent of it is exuberance. Pinetop Perkins is still alive, and there is no disputing the greatness of Dr. John, but as far as piano players go, I’ll take Marcia Ball every time. In other words, this reluctant dancer will be on the floor on the very first song.