Marcia Ball was born in Vinton, Louisiana, on the Texas borderline. As a child she began playing piano but it wasn’t until she witnessed a live performance by Irma Thomas that she discovered the power of soul music. She soon enrolled at Louisiana State University where she began her own performance career.
In Austin, Ball formed a progressive country band called Freda and The Firedogs. In 1978 when that band broke up she launched her solo career debuting with the country album Circuit Queen on Capitol Records. During the 1980’s Ball released six critically acclaimed albums on the Rounder Records label. In 1990 Ball released “Dreams Come True”, a collaboration with Angela Strehli and Lou Ann Barton, on the Antone’s Records label. Then on January 13th, 1998 Ball released a second collaboration “Sing It”, this time with Tracy Nelson and her inspiration Irma Thomas.
Ball signed with Alligator Records in 2001. This is Ball’s sixth album for Alligator and eighteenth album overall. She has been nominated for 44 Blues Music Awards. Ball’s last Alligator Recording 2014’s “The Tatooed Lady and The Alligator Man” won her the 2015 BMA for Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of The Year; her sixth time winning that award and her tenth BMA win overall. Ball also holds five Grammy Award nominations. “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”.
“Shine Bright” is produced by Steve Berlin of the band Los Lobos. Four songs were recorded at The Dockside Studios in Maurice, Louisiana; while the remaining eight were recorded at the Texas Treefort Studios in Austin. Additional background vocals and horns were later added.
The title track is the first of eight new originals; it is a tribute to strong women everywhere. My other favorites include “They Don’t Make Em’ Like That” and the Tex-Mex flavored “Life of The Party”. The band on these features Ball, piano and vocals; Don Bennett, bass; Cory Keller, Drums; Mike Schermer, guitar; Red Young, organ; and Eric Bernhardt, tenor sax.
Ball’s selected covers include Ernie K-Doe’s “I Got to Find Somebody”; Ray Charles’ “What Would I Do Without You” with a beautiful vocal; Shelley King’s “When The Mardi Gras Is Over”; and Jesse Winchester’s “Take A Little Louisiana” featuring Roddie Romero on accordion.
Berlin’s exciting production helps create another winning album from the iconic Ball.
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