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Blues pianist will promote release of album at festival

Marcia Ball will celebrate the release of her new Roadside Attractions on Saturday, May 21, at the 18th annual Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival in Thomson.

"It's always good to catch an artist out touring behind new music," Thomson's Don Powers told The McDuffie Mirror in an e-mail Monday. Powers is the vice president of The Thomson Activities Council, which sponsors the blues festival.

"In fact, both Marcia Ball and Sonny Landreth will have new discs out this spring," Powers wrote. "Marcia's last three albums were nominated for Grammys. The new one should be equally as good."

Ball is scheduled to perform at 6:15 p.m.

Powers said the CDs will be available for sale at the festival in the artist tent, where all performers will be signing CDs, etc., after their performance that day.

The event will be held at the regular festival site, on Stagecoach Road, 300 yards off Washington Road, north of Thomson.

Ball is a Texas-born, Louisiana-raised pianist/vocalist/songwriter. Her new album is being released by Alligator Records, of Chicago. In a news release, the producer wrote: "Ball's groove-laden New Orleans R&B, heart-wrenching ballads and driving Gulf Coast blues have made her a one-of-a-kind favorite of music fans all over the world. Her music mixes equal parts simmering soul fervor and rollicking Crescent City piano. Over the course of her career, Ball's infectious, intelligent and deeply emotional songs have won her a loud and loyal fan base all over the world."

Roadside Attractions is Ball's fifth release for Alligator.

In addition to her Grammy nominations, Ball has 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 last year.

Festival tickets cost $25 in advance at, $30 the day of the show. Children 12 and younger are admitted free.

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The festival is held rain or shine. Each year, more than 1,000 people attend.

Country blues legend McTell was a Thomson native, born and buried in the Happy Valley area of McDuffie County.

The headliner and closing act for this year's festival is Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue. Also performing are Jimmy Hall & the Prisoners of Love featuring Jack Pearson, the Georgia Horns featuring Chris Crenshaw and Marcus Printup, Jack Pearson, Atlanta's Mark Miller & Travelin Shoes and the Crosstie Walkers.

The McDuffie Mirror contributed to this report.

Web posted on Thursday, April 14, 2011

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