From Orange to Austin
After years of success, Ball makes GC Hall of Fame
Marcia Ball says she claims “dual citizenship” between Orange and Vinton.
“I was born at Frances Ann Lutcher Hospital in Orange, because Vinton didn’t have a hospital,” she said Tuesday in a phone interview from Austin.
In Vinton, her grandfather owned a filling station, as well as Plymouth and International Harvester dealerships. Marcia’s maiden name was Mouton.
“My parents had met in Baton Rouge and lived there for awhile. My granddad needed some help in Vinton so they moved there. For many years, my father worked for Davison Chemical. In fact, he was involved in starting it up.”
Her mom worked at Vinton City Hall. Marcia graduated from Vinton High School then headed off to LSU. It was there her music training since age 5 took shape.
“My grandmother had played piano, then my mother took lessons and I was automatically the next in line. In college I discovered rock and roll – the Rolling Stones and Janis. It was like ‘everyman’s music’ at that point. Before, bands had been very corporate, but the idea that these five scruffy guys from England could put together a group and play music everyone could relate to really changed things for me. It was the blues. And growing up in the Golden Triangle, I had grown up with many of those original songs.”
In her first band, Marcia didn’t play keyboards.
“I just shouted the blues. But it was a great way for me to meet people and help me grow as a performer.”
She found her way to Austin pursuing a solo career, releasing albums on the Capitol and Rounder labels, winning several Blues Music Awards and Grammy nominations, collaborating with fellow Austin musician Angela Strehli and making numerous television and radio appearances.
On Jan. 23, Ball will win a spot in the Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame. The show to accompany it will be from 7 p.m.-midnight at the Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur.
“I’m real happy to be a part of that,” she said. “That’s the music I grew up with.”
Now on Alligator Records, Ball’s latest release is “Peace, Love and BBQ” with guests Dr. John, Wayne Toups, Tracy Nelson and Terrance Simien.
After a break for the holidays she will join Delbert McClinton on a 10-day cruise starting in Tampa, Fla., and hitting spots in Mexico and the Caribbean. The tour also features Raoul Malo (formerly of the Mavericks), Tab Benoit and Houston’s Teresa James.
“We’ve been doing this every year for about 16 years,” Ball said. “Half the people don’t even care where we’re going. They’re just there for the music.”
Formerly the Janis Joplin Birthday Bash, Ball will be joined on stage Jan. 23 by Jivin’ Gene, Susan Pierce (as Janis) with Ultra Suede, Still Cruisin’ featuring Cheryl Guidry and Kenneth Babino and this year’s other inductee, Floyd Soileau, famed Ville Platte, La., producer of Rod Bernard and many other swamp pop/rock artists.
Advance tickets are $22 through Jan. 22 at The Penny Record in Bridge City or The County Record in Orange. Admission at the door will be $24 and free to children 12 and under.