Marcia Ball Band

Texas-born, Louisiana-raised pianist/vocalist/songwriter Marcia Ball's new CD, Roadside Attractions mixes equal parts simmering soul fervor and rollicking Crescent City piano. Over the course of her 30-year career, Ball's infectious, intelligent and deeply emotional songs have won her a loud and loyal fan base. Roadside Attractions is Ball's fifth release for Alligator, and twelfth overall. Three of her previous four CDs have received Grammy nominations. Ball has also collected seven Blues Music Awards since 2001, including the 2009 "Pinetop Perkins Piano Player Of The Year" award, and was voted "Female Blues Artist Of The Year" and "Most Outstanding Musician--Piano" in the 2009 Living Blues Readers' Poll. Ball was inducted into the Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame in 2010. Recording in Austin and in Nashville, and produced by famed songwriter, musician and producer Gary Nicholson (Delbert McClinton, Wynonna Judd, T. Graham Brown), Roadside Attractions finds Marcia Ball at a creative peak. Ball wrote or co-wrote every song -- something she had never done over the course of her forty-year career. Throughout the proceedings, her stellar musicians add power and nuance to the music, perfectly complementing Ball's expert piano playing, slice-of-life lyrics and melodic, storytelling vocals. 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. She began taking piano lessons at age five, playing old Tin Pan Alley tunes from her grandmother's collection. From her aunt, Marcia heard more modern and popular music. But it wasn't until she was 13 that Marcia discovered the power of soul music. One day in 1962, she sat amazed while Irma Thomas delivered the most spirited performance the young teenager had ever seen. In 1970, Ball set out for San Francisco. Her car broke down in Austin, 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 with a progressive country band called Freda And The Firedogs, while beginning to perfect her songwriting skills. It was around this time that she delved deeply into the music of the great New Orleans piano players, especially Professor Longhair. "Once I found out about Professor Longhair," recalls Ball, "I knew I had found my direction." When the band broke up in 1974, Marcia launched her solo career, signing to Capitol Records and debuting with the country-rock album Circuit Queen in 1978. Discovering and honing her own sound, she released six critically acclaimed titles on the Rounder label during the 1980s and 1990s. Her recordings and performances received glowing reviews in major music publications, and Marcia was featured on leading television and radio programs, including Austin City Limits and NPR's Fresh Air and Piano Jazz. Since the release of her Alligator debut Presumed Innocent in 2001, Ball has received more popular and critical acclaim than ever before. 2003's So Many Rivers continued the push forward, with Billboard declaring, "Ball is a consummate pro -- a killer pianist, a great singer and songwriter. Powerful. Righteous." 2005's Live! Down The Road received equally impressive praise. The New Orleans Times-Picayune said simply, "Bayou boogie has a queen and her name is Marcia Ball." Billboard said, "Peace, Love BBQ is a welcome ray of sunshine. This is a potent batch of tunes, highlighted by Ball's keyboard mastery." Living the life she loves, Marcia has no plans of slowing down anytime soon. "Forty years of roadside attractions and the life of roaming ‘round has never worn thin," she proudly says. "I love it when the wheels start rolling, when the band starts playing, when the crowds start dancing." Now, with Roadside Attractions and a long list of high profile tour dates, Ball will bring her blend of Texas roadhouse boogie and Louisiana swamp blues to fans around the globe. "What's not to love about Marcia Ball?" asked The Austin Chronicle. "Scrumptious, Southern-fried boogies, blues, and ballads with the infectious street beat of New Orleans at the core." Clearly, in whatever city she performs or wherever her songs play, there is no better roadside attraction than the foot-stomping, soul-stirring music of the great Marcia Ball.

The Bluebonnets

Like a Texas-California combo plate, the BlueBonnets serve up a set of glamorous glitter blues rock complimented with layered girl group harmonies. There is a rough garage band energy to the songs, songs that are held together by tight arrangements and stylistic guitar interplay, solid grooves, and unforgettable melodies. The band formed in 2007, as a restructuring of a former line-up that began in Los Angeles in the 90's. When Kathy Valentine returned to live in her home town of Austin, she decided the city was the perfect place to re-introduce the band that she and Dominique Davalos had conceived when they first began their long musical partnership. The BlueBonnets put a feminine slant on on blues based rock n roll yet cannot fall neatly into any musical category. They have been chosen to share the bill with the royalty of Austin's music scene: Arc Angels, Bob Schneider, the Scabs, Jimmie Vaughan, Guy Forsythe, Storyville, Lou Anne Barton, and Carolyn Wonderland amongst many others. In 2010 the BlueBonnets will release their first ever CD and are surely set to be one of the star jewels in Austin's musical crown.

Guitarists/vocalists Eve Monsees and Kathy Valentine live in Austin, Texas while drummer Kristy McInnis commutes from Hollywood for rehearsals, recording and scheduled gigs. Bassist and lead vocalist Dominique Davalos splits her time between Los Angeles and Austin.

Shelley King

The music of Shelley King draws from and blends a spectrum of roots music styles, but one word succinctly describes it: soulful. Be it R&B, folk, blues, country, bluegrass or rock — or combinations of and variations on those themes — she delivers the goods straight from the heart with a voice that’s splendidly rich and warm and as big as all outdoors. Writing “a proverbial trunk full of instant hits and yet-unheard classics,” as the Austin Chronicle describes her songs, King has risen from the vibrant music scene in the Texas capital city to charm fans across North America, Europe and Japan, win two Austin Music Awards, and be named the Texas State Musician for 2008.

And now she truly finds her sweet spot on her aptly titled new album Welcome Home. Recorded and co-produced with John Magnie, Tim Cook and Steve Amedée of The Subdudes — rated by All Music Guide as “stellar musicians of the swampy jazz-rock-blues New Orleans persuasion” — it’s a roots music tour de force where the spirit of the church meets the soul and spices of the South and the many moods and modes of the human heart.

From the opening and intoxicating sunshine of “Summer Wine,” Welcome Home travels the musical highways and byways below Mason-Dixon to echo the finest traditions and open new musical dimensions, thanks to a magical marriage of the multi-instrumental gifts and vocal blend of Magnie, Cook and Amedée with the splendorous humanity and emotiveness of King’s singing and songs. On tracks like the call and response of “I Remember,” the hymnal “Welcome Home” (written just after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans) and the prayerful “Grain of Sand,” King and company draw from the gospel oak to create spiritual sounds for the modern age. “Asking Too Much” and “It’s Starting To Rain” renew classic New Orleans R&B, and “I Can’t Make It Easy” is a swooning swamp pop slow dancer. The lilt of bluegrass meets the zest of Cajun music on “Everything’s All Right,” and King and company summon up a spirited fais do do with the boogie-woogie of “How You Make Me Feel” and swing of “Falling Fast” before closing out with the acapella and handclaps of “Welcome Home Reprise.” All told, Welcome Home is a listening experience sure to be treasured and relished by all it touches for years to come.

King’s voice first rang out at the age of four in a tiny rural one-room church in her native Arkansas and then bloomed further as she grew up singing in parishes large and small across her home state and Texas. Listening to her uncles sing and play songs on their acoustic guitars by Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Crosby, Stills & Nash also instilled in her a sense of songwriting excellence from an early age. After working her way through college by starting and running her own business, King stepped onto the club and concert stage fronting bands in Houston before moving a few years later to Austin, the longtime noted nexus of roots music authenticity and innovation as well as superlative songwriting that proved to be a welcoming home for her talents.

She had been writing songs since her early teens, and in Austin her gifts found a place to bloom without the strictures of style or commercial concerns. “I just started writing for myself. I don’t care what kind of song it is — it might be bluegrass, it might be blues, it doesn’t matter — it’s whatever mood I’m in and whatever the song needs.”

After King gave a copy of her debut album Call Of My Heart to Toni Price, Austin’s beloved and long-reigning favorite female voice, Price recorded two of the tunes on it — the title track and “Who Needs Tears” — for her 2001 album, Midnight Pumpkin. Her version of “Call Of My Heart” went on the win Song of the Year at the Austin Music Awards, where in 2005 King and her group were also named Roots Music Band of the Year. Price recorded another King song, “Tennessee Whiskey” for her 2003 album Born to be Blue. Then after Lee Hazelwood heard King’s “Texas Blue Moon” on the radio during a drive through the Lone Star State, he and Nancy Sinatra cut the song for their album Nancy & Lee 3.

For her second album, The Highway, King traveled to the legendary Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama where icons like Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and many others have tracked classic recordings. Her 2004 live album, Rockin’ the Dancehall, captured her dynamism as a performer at the famed Gruene Hall in Central Texas, and was declared “an exuberant breath of air” by the Austin Chronicle and named a Top Recording of the Year by Buddy magazine for its “excellent, high-energy country-rock-pop-blues-gospel-soul, delivered by a tight, experienced band.” King’s catalog also includes the compilation Armadillo Bootleg #1 that features live and studio tracks including a live cut from her all-woman Southern rock band Sis Deville, a collaboration with Sara Hickman and two Subdudes covers.

As the Dallas Observer says of King, “Onstage, she leads her band through tangents of electric Southern blues and acoustic folk, revved-up Cajun country and rock and roll with a charismatic ease that evidences the resilience of a lifelong performer.” And for more than a decade now, she has taken her act across the U.S. and Canada and as well tours of Europe and Japan, sharing stages with scores of noted performers from a range of styles (including such top acts as Patty Griffin, Los Lonely Boys, The Flatlanders, Mavis Staples, Ricky Skaggs and many others), appearing at major festivals in North America and Europe, and performing live on XM satellite radio and the internationally syndicated concert show Woodsongs, among many other radio and TV appearances.

King’s fervent Texas following led her to be nominated and then selected as the Texas State Musician for 2008. She shares the honor with such acts as Willie Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver, Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel and Dale Watson, and is the first woman to hold the prestigious annual post.

The origins of her collaboration with members of The Subdudes was first seeing the band in 1993 in Austin and being knocked out by their show, and then buying a cassette of one of their albums in a used tape bin. “I could not take it out of the tape player in my car for months,” King recalls. “I just got into the groove where that was my music and the soundtrack to my life.” She later met and befriended the group running into them on tour and playing shows together.

Welcome Home started out informally with an initial session at Magnie’s home studio in Fort Collins, Colorado. “I really just went to demo a few songs and kind of goof around in the studio with them,” explains King. “We were in the studio for three days and came out with five songs, and had just an amazing time together. I wasn’t trying to do a record. But when I started listening to it all afterwards, I thought, wow, this is really special, and I’d really love to do it again.”

Over two subsequent visits to Fort Collins, a full album took shape. “It came about really organically,” King enthuses. “We didn’t get together and say we’re going to produce a record. We were just thinking about the music and having fun recording with no pressure, and whatever comes of it comes of it. When it all came down I had recorded a whole record. I savored every moment of it and didn’t want it to end. It was a total labor of love.”
Welcome Home is now sure to reside in the hearts of all that hear it as a contemporary classic of soulful American music. Yet for all the honors, praise and success King has achieved — and doing so by booking her own tours and releasing her albums on her own Lemonade Records label — the ultimate rewards for King are those of the soul. “It’s joyous work,” she concludes of her career. “It’s what I love doing and it’s such a blessing to be able to do what you love every day.”

Sarah Brown

Sarah Brown (Bass) has played and recorded with an impressive list of blues and roots greats such as Albert Collins, Buddy Guy, Dr. John, Dave Alvin, Wanda Jackson, Billy Bragg, and Earl King. Sarah was part of the Antone's House Band during the 80's and early 90's and appears on over 50 recordings, including her own CD, "Sayin What I'm Thinkin" on the Blind Pig label. She has been profiled in Bass Player magazine, was awarded "best bass player" four times in the Austin Music Awards, and was nominated for two W.C. Handy Awards. She's also an accomplished songwriter, with her original songs having been cut by Marcia Ball, Lou Ann Barton, Angela Strehli, Joe Louis Walker, Irma Thomas, Ruth Brown and Lavelle White.

Lisa Pankratz

Lisa Pankratz has become the drummer of choice for acts who want their Country to shuffle with soul and their Rock to have some swing in the beat. Surf/instrumental rocker Teisco Del Rey, The Derailers, Rosie Flores, Dale Watson, Johnny Bush, Deke Dickerson, Marti Brom, Roger Wallace, Bill Kirchen, Billy Joe Shaver and contemporary song stylists Damon Bramblett and Bruce Robison are a few [Lisa Pankratz] who have called on Lisa's versatile drumming skills. She has performed on Austin City Limits, the Conan O'Brien show, the Grand Ole Opry, Carnegie Hall and many pubs, clubs and honk-tonks across North America and Europe.

"...arguably the only roots rock drummer who has mastered the country technique of being simultaneously right there and barely noticeable..." John Morthland, Texas Monthly Magazine.

ps - And one of the nicest people you'll ever meet - Antone's

Carolyn Wonderland

Carolyn Wonderland is a multi-award winning artist from Texas. She just won Best Female Vocalist (not bad for a guitar picker!) at the 2011/12 Austin Music Awards .Previously, she and her band were named Austin's Best Blues Band at the 2009 Austin Music Awards where Carolyn picked up the award for Best Female Vocalist, too! No stranger to awards, Carolyn has several from the Houston Music Awards (
Best Guitarist, Musician of the Year, Release of the Year, Single of the Year, Best Female Vocalist, Best Blues Band, among others)! Carolyn, her band and friends were recently featured on PBS's Austin City Limits with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Her 2011 Bismeaux release, "Peace Meal" (recorded in Austin at Bismeaux and Woodstock, NY at Levon Helm's Studio) has been in the top ten iTunes Blues Chart, Top Twenty Americana Playlist and has found folks talking about Carolyn's music from House of Blues Radio's Elwood's BluesMobile to Don Imus, from Guitar Player Magazine to the Huffington Post. Carolyn is proud to announce her band's partnership with while on tour (and at home shows!) the band donates 10% of sales to this amazing organization. Please DO check them out! "Peace Meal" has been critically lauded and is the follow up to the 2008 CD, "Miss Understood" (produced by Asleep at the Wheel's Ray Benson) which has been on the charts and in rotation since it's release and has been featured on many "Best of" lists. She, Cole El-Saleh, Rob Hooper, and Shelley Cox have toured most of the States, and Europe, and Japan ... perpetually on the road ... only landed in jail once (knock on wood) for peacefully protesting the war.

Lucky enough to jam with mentors and friends like
Bob Dylan, Ray Benson, Marcia Ball, Cindy Cashdollar, and the late Eddy Shaver, she's toured with Buddy Guy and Johnny Winter,
sat in with Los Lobos, String Cheese Incident,
Robert Earl Keen, and Ray Wylie Hubbard,
co-wrote tunes with Cindy Cashdollar, Ruthie
Foster, Candye Kane, Sarah Brown and Guy Forsyth,
and recorded extensively with Jerry Lightfoot
and [Dead/Tubes keyboardist] Vince Welnick!

At the 2007 inaugural Road To Austin festival,
she was accompanied by the amazing Bonnie Raitt,
and performed to much acclaim with Kris Kristofferson and Delbert McClinton, backed by Stephen Bruton's all-star band [incidentally, all filmed for a future realease!]

How lucky can one girl get?

Well, with a lot of hard work, just this lucky!
In her words, "I still get to play most every night,
so the Adventure continues; every musical interlude
is a new page, another chance to jump into the Ether."

Carolyn has eight releases of her own, and her music has been featured on tons of compilations from a live version of "Misunderstood" from 2008's Blues on the Green on KGSR's Broadcasts [Vol. 16], (benefiting the SIMS foundation) to XIT (Ten in Texas) where Carolyn sings Billy Joe Shaver's "Honky Tonk Heroes" with Asleep at the Wheel, to Palo Duro's Texas Unplugged [Vol. 2] where Cindy Cashdollar and Carolyn Wonderland play an acoustic instrumental they composed together, "Turtle Bayou Turnaround", to Ruf's Guitar Women anthology ... and lots more. It is also recommended you find "Texistentialism" from Jerry Lightfoot's Band of Wonder. (Carolyn was the singer in this band featuring Jerry, Carolyn and Vince Welnick) ...

In addition to Carolyn Wonderland's appearance on Austin City Limits, her music has been featured on prime-time network TV dramas such as NBC's "Homicide" and "Time of Your Life" on Fox... Notably, her biographical "Annie's Scarlet Letter" is the featured soundtrack for Houston NORML's PSA. Appearing in several recent award-winning films, she's a featured artist with an interview in "American Music: Off the Record", is a featured artist in "Texas Burning" and has songs and an appearance in the film "Sno-Cone."

She was recently a panelist at the University of Texas LBJ Library's "Instruments of Freedom" Forum with Marcia Ball, Jerry Jeff Walker and Kinky Friedman...

Carolyn is also in a few other notable groups, including Sis DeVille, Austin's all-grrl southern-rock super-group (with Shelley King, Floramay Holliday, Lisa Pankratz, and Anne Marie Harrop)! ... When she's not driving around the country playing music, catch her celebrating Gospel Brunch at Maria's Taco X-Press (in Austin) with the Imperial Golden Crown Harmonizers (the first Sunday of most months) raising money for local charities. She's also a performing member [since its inception] of Austin's Instruments For Peace ... and has membership in the Loose Affiliation of Saints and Sinners (with Eldridge Goins, Guy Forsyth, Papa Mali, and several others); many of her songs are featured on L.A.S.A.S.' "Sessions from the Hotel San Jose Rm. 50"...

The new album "Peace Meal" is out on 9/27/11!

With all this fun and hard work,
Carolyn's first love is her band ...
We invite you to come hear why!

$15.00 - $150.00

Tickets Available at the Door

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