Music » Critics' Picks

Marcia Ball

8 p.m. Friday, January 11. The Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Boulevard.

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Geography partly explains the power and appeal of blues belter and boogie-woogie piano banger Marcia Ball — but only partly. Raised on the Texas border in the small southwestern Louisiana town of Vinton, Ball discovered her own voice at ground zero for American roots music: Rockabilly, zydeco, country, R&B, swamp-rock and juke-joint blues poured through the airwaves and clubs around her deep Southern home. But it was a move to Austin, Texas, and a connection with the outlaw-country scene that opened up her songwriting to more than just jumpin'-blues novelties. With an instinct for business as well as a decent hook, the lithe singer has become one of the most successful and consistent divas of contemporary blues — and a guaranteed, raucous live performer.

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