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Marcia Ball To Appear On NPR's WEEKEND EDITION SATURDAY On April 28

[04/25/2018]
“Rollicking, playful, good-time blues and intimate, reflective balladry...her songs ring with emotional depth.”

–Rolling Stone

Texas-born, Louisiana-raised pianist, songwriter and vocalist Marcia Ball will appear on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday on April 28. Ball, the 2018 Texas State Musician Of The Year, released her dynamic new Alligator Records album, Shine Bright, on Friday, April 20. Weekend Edition Saturday, hosted by Scott Simon, is heard on NPR member stations across the United States, and around the globe on NPR Worldwide.

Currently celebrating 50 years as a professional musician, Ball has won worldwide fame and countless fans for her ability to ignite a full-scale roadhouse rhythm and blues party every time she takes the stage. Her rollicking Texas boogies, swampy New Orleans ballads and groove-laden Gulf Coast blues have made her a one-of-a-kind favorite with music lovers all over the world. The New York Times says, “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.”

With 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. They range from the title track’s rousing appeal for public and private acts of courage to the humorous advice of Life Of The Party, and from the upbeat call to action of Pots And Pans (a song inspired by renowned Texas political writer and humorist Molly Ivins) to the poignantly optimistic World Full Of Love. Throughout the album, 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.”

Born in Orange, Texas 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. Seeing an Irma Thomas performance in 1962 and falling under the spell of Professor Longhair's piano playing convinced Ball to seek out a career in music. She led a couple of early psychedelic country rock bands before pursuing her solo career from her adopted hometown of Austin, Texas.

After her 1978 Capitol Records debut, Circuit Queen, and a series of successful albums on Rounder Records, Ball joined Alligator in 2001 with the release of the critically acclaimed Presumed Innocent, the first of her six releases for the label, four of which have been Grammy nominated. Altogether she holds ten Blues Music Awards, ten Living Blues Awards, and five Grammy Award nominations. She has been inducted into both the Gulf Coast Music Hall Of Fame and the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame. The Texas State legislature named her the official 2018 Texas State Musician. According to The Houston Chronicle, “Marcia Ball’s brand of blues lifts the spirit. She’s as perfect an artist as could be."