BATH – Pianist/vocalist/songwriter Marcia Ball, known for her groove-laden New Orleans R&B and driving Gulf Coast blues, will perform Saturday, April 4, at the Chocolate Church Arts Center.

She is touring in support of her Grammy-nominated CD, “Peace, Love and BBQ.”

Over the course of her three-decade career, Ball has earned a loyal following worldwide with her deeply emotional brand of Southern boogie, rollicking roadhouse blues and heartfelt ballads. Her music is mixed with equal parts simmering soul fervor and two-fisted piano pounding.

Ball has won two 2004 Blues Music Awards for Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year for the Grammy-nominated CD, “So Many Rivers,” as well as the award for Contemporary Female Blues Artist Of The Year.

In 2005, 2006 and 2007, the Blues Music Awards honored Ball as Piano Player Of The Year. She was also voted Most Outstanding Musician in the 2007 Living Blues Readers Poll.

Born in 1949 to a family whose female members all played piano, Ball grew up in the small town of Vinton, La. She began taking piano lessons at age 5, playing old Tin Pan Alley tunes from her grandmother’s collection. From her aunt, she heard more modern and popular music. But it wasn’t until she was 13 that she discovered the blues when she heard Irma Thomas play.

“She just blew me away; she caught me totally unaware. Once I started my own band, the first stuff I was doing was Irma’s,” said Ball in a prepared statement.

In 1970, Ball set out for San Francisco. Her car broke down in Austin, Texas, and while waiting for repairs, she fell in love with the city and decided to stay. It wasn’t long before she was performing in the city’s clubs.

When her band Freda And The Firedogs broke up in 1974, Ball launched her solo career, debuting her country album, “Circuit Queen,” in 1978. Since 1980, she has released more than a dozen albums, including “Hot Tamale Baby,” “Sing it!,” “Presumed Innocent” and “Live Down the Road.”

Ball wrote or co-wrote eight of the 13 songs on her “Peace Love & BBQ” CD, featuring intense soul ballads, party songs and straight-from-the-heart lyrical storytelling.

The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $33, $35 at the door. Call the box office at 442-8455 or visit www.chocolatechurcharts.org.


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