First Lady of Blues

Marcia Ball

Marcia Ball
Marcia Ball

More than four decades into her career, Marcia Ball is a living blues legend as well as a popular fixture on blues-hungry Eugene stages. But last year, Ball missed her chance to promote her latest release, The Tattooed Lady and The Alligator Man, in our valley.

“We were scheduled last fall,” Ball tells EW, “and then I had a fall. I had to miss the gig — a rare occurrence,” adding in a thick Southern accent: “I didn’t get to play my songs for you so I’m coming back to do it!”

Ball was born in Louisiana and now resides in Texas, two states with rich musical heritages. Ball says music was an integral part of her upbringing. “I grew up in a house with piano players,” Ball explains, joking, “I didn’t have much of a choice about it and I really loved it!

“We’d gather ’round the piano,” Ball continues, “and somebody played. It was popular music — my grandmother played ragtime, my aunt played popular music of the ’40s and ’50s.”

Ball says the region she grew up in definitely influenced her sound. “That was an incredibly fertile musical area,” she explains. “When I was growing up, soul music was real popular.”

Ball also references regional influences, ranging from Edgar Winter to Janis Joplin and George Jones. “We had soul music, we had Cajun; we had the early beginnings of zydeco. We had blues and rhythm-and-blues — it was very rich.”

Ball says to expect a little of everything at her upcoming show in Eugene, including some material post-The Tattooed Lady and The Alligator Man. “We’ll be playing a lot of the new stuff,” she says, “and people’s favorites from other records.”

Marcia Ball plays 7:30 pm Thursday, Sept. 10, at The Shedd; $14-$34. All ages.

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