Bad Ass Blues: Marcia Ball & Charlie Musselwhite

Bad Ass Blues: Marcia Ball & Charlie Musselwhite

Sunday, May 14

7:00 pm (event ends at 11:00 pm)

Crest Theatre

Sacramento, CA

$35-45-55

Pre-sale code BLUES 

Charge by Phone 877-987-6487

Marcia Ball
Marcia Ball
"Rollicking roadhouse rave-ups and soulful Gulf Coast R&B"
--USA Today

Marcia Ball's brand of blues lifts the spirit -- old-school R&B mixed with Cajun, zydeco, boogie-woogie, swamp pop and just about every other stripe of music from Southeast Texas' Golden Triangle across the state line toward New Orleans and Baton Rouge. She's as perfect an artist as could be.
--Houston Chronicle

More fun than a barrel of funky monkeys.
--NPR Music

Texas-born, Louisiana-raised Marcia Ball's groove-laden New Orleans boogie, deeply soulful ballads and rollicking Gulf Coast blues have made her a one-of-a-kind favorite with music fans all over the world. She's received a total of five Grammy Award nominations, ten Blues Music Awards (and a whopping 44 nominations), and seven Living Blues Awards. She has been inducted into both the Gulf Coast Music Hall Of Fame and the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame.

The title track of Marcia Ball's new album, The Tattooed Lady And The Alligator Man, is an irresistible tale of true love at the traveling carnival. It's a story that nobody but Ball could spin, filled with vivid details, universal truths, and a rambunctious sense of fun and desire. With raucous horns punctuating Ball's legendary piano virtuosity and emotional, melodic vocals, the song kicks off a CD of eleven dazzling originals and one stirring cover. The release mixes Ball's Gulf Coast blues, New Orleans R&B, swampy Louisiana ballads, and jumping, Tex-Mex flavored zydeco into a one-of-a-kind musical gumbo, a sound she has been perfecting over the course of her legendary career.


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 and popular music tunes from her grandmother's collection. But it wasn't until she was 13 that Marcia discovered the power of soul music. One day in 1962, she sat amazed as Irma Thomas performed in her hometown and delivered the most spirited and moving performance the young teenager had ever seen. A few years later she attended Louisiana State University, where she played some of her very first gigs with a blues-based rock band called Gum.

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 local clubs with a progressive country band called Freda And The Firedogs, while beginning to sharpen 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 Freda And The Firedogs broke up in 1974, Ball launched her solo career, playing clubs around Austin and the Gulf Coast. Releasing a solo LP in 1978 for Capitol and six highly successful albums on Rounder, Ball become a bona fide star, playing festivals, concert halls and clubs all over the country. Ball's rollicking piano playing, husky and soulful vocals, incisive songwriting and captivating stage presence have made her one of blues and roots music's most sought-after live performers. She joined the Alligator Records family in 2001 with the release of the critically acclaimed Presumed Innocent. The CD took home the 2002 Blues Music Award for Blues Album Of The Year. Ball's subsequent Alligator releases, including her most recent, 2014's The Tattooed Lady And The Alligator Man, have all received both critical and popular acclaim, with four of her six Alligator releases receiving Grammy nominations.

Since founding her own band, Ball has never stopped writing, recording and touring. Her popularity and her audience have continued to grow with each new album and every performance. The New York Times says, "Marcia 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." Living Blues declares, "Her originals sound like timeless classics and southern soul masterpieces that no one else can imitate."
Charlie Musselwhite
Charlie Musselwhite
Born into a blue collar family in Kosciusko, Mississippi on January 31, 1944 and raised by a single mother, Musselwhite grew up surrounded by blues, hillbilly and gospel music on the radio and outside his front door. His family moved to Memphis, where, as a teenager, he worked as a ditch digger, concrete layer and moonshine runner. Fascinated by the blues, Musselwhite began playing guitar and harmonica. It wasn't easy growing up a poor, white boy in Memphis, even among the rich musical influences the city offered. He felt like an outcast and a stranger (themes that have informed, inspired and haunted his music to this day). As a teen, Musselwhite attended parties hosted by Elvis Presley and hobnobbed with many of the local musicians, including Johnny Cash and Johnny Burnette, but the celebrities young Charlie sought out were Memphis' veteran bluesmen like Furry Lewis, Will Shade and Gus Cannon.

Following the path of so many, Musselwhite moved to Chicago looking for better paying work. While driving an exterminator truck as a day job, Charlie lived on the South Side and hung out in blues clubs at night, developing close friendships with blues icons Little Walter, Big Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Big Joe Williams, Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. Before long, he was sitting in at clubs with Muddy and others, building an impressive word-of-mouth reputation. Soon after, Charlie was being paid to play in the same South Side neighborhood. Noted blues journalist Dick Shurman says, "The black Chicago blues artists all liked Charlie as a person. They felt that he was one of them—a southern country boy with a deep affinity for the blues."

His first recording, under the name Memphis Charlie, was with Big Walter Hortonon the famous Vanguard Records series, CHICAGO/THE BLUES/TODAY!. Signing with Vanguard, Musselwhite (along with Paul Butterfield who was as urban as Charlie was rural) brought the amplified harmonica blues to a new audience of young, white rock and rollers, who discovered that Charlie personified the cool and hip counter-culture icons they admired.

After the release of his first full-length LP—STAND BACK! HERE COMES CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE'S SOUTH SIDE BAND—he was embraced by the growing youth counter-culture and the newly emerging progressive rock FM radio stations, especially on the West Coast. His iconic status established, he relocated to San Francisco, often playing the famed Fillmore Auditorium. Over
the years, he has released albums on a variety of labels, ranging from straight blues to music mixing elements of jazz, gospel, Tex- Mex, Cuban and other world music, winning new fans at every turn. He has been touring nationally and internationally for four decades and is among the best-known and best-loved blues musicians in the world.

Musselwhite has guested on numerous recordings, as a featured player with Tom Waits, Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, John Lee Hooker, Bonnie Raitt, The Blind Boys of Alabama, INXS and most recently Cyndi Lauper. He has shared stages with countless blues and rock musicians. He was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Blues Hall Of Fame in 2010, has been nominated for six Grammy Awards and has won 24 Blues Music Awards. THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE says, "Charlie Musselwhite's harmonica playing shows taste, bite, restraint and power. He's one of the best, and as a bluesman, he's as real as they come."

Charlie Musselwhite today is as vital and creative as at any point in his long career. Down Beat calls him, "the undisputed champion of the blues harmonica." In addition to his always- busy schedule, he hosts a weekly radio show, "Charlie's Backroom," on KRSH- FM in Santa Rosa, California (streamed at KRSH.com Sundays at 10:00am PST). He considers himself a lifelong learner and is constantly perfecting his craft. With THE WELL, Charlie Musselwhite returns with the strongest, most intimate album of his career— a powerful, personal collection of songs. Musselwhite's blues, imparting his hard-won knowledge and working class wisdom, are a window into the deep well of his Mississippi soul.
Venue Information:
Crest Theatre
1013 K Street
Sacramento, CA, 95814
http://crestsacramento.com/