The Marcia Ball

Valentine's Weekend is all about her

The Marcia Ball

If you’re a musician in Austin and your birthday is in March, you can just about forget about trying to celebrate it publicly amid the South by Southwest hubbub. Just ask Jimmie Vaughan (March 20), who I’ve wished well as we passed each other backstage at the Music Awards, or Jerry Jeff Walker (March 16), who finally gave up his annual birthday show. For Marcia Ball, who shares a birthday with Vaughan, the solution was easy: move the party to Valentine’s Day weekend. The atmosphere of love and affection suits Ball, who turns 60 in style with a three-day bash at Antone’s February 13-15.

Ball’s own heart is huge and generous – she’s a fixture at more benefits than you can shake maracas at – so the proceeds of this effort go to the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians and Sweet Home New Orleans. It’s a wonderful example of Marcia’s love for the state she grew up in and the one she adopted. I’ve had the good fortune to tag along on a few Marcia Ball road trips over the years and her effect on the audiences is enchanting.

And the music … oh my! Friday the 13th is the Rocking Voodoo Party with Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie, and Sonny Landreth. Saturday night combines her beloved girl groups by bringing Angela Strehli and Lou Ann Barton together with Maria Muldaur, Tracy Nelson, Lavelle White, and Sarah Brown. On Sunday, her famous keyboard contretemps is back with the Pianorama brunch, featuring Floyd Domino, Johnny Nicholas, Nick Connolly, and Riley Osborne tickling the ivories.

To buy tickets – and there are several levels, depending on how close you want to rub shoulders with the stars – Her Tallness has specific instructions: Go to Go to the Marcia Ball Mall. In the fine print in a box on the left side of the page is a list of items and one of those is Birthday Bash Tickets. When you click on that, you get your choice of tickets to individual shows. Read carefully because there are two shows on Saturday night and two ticket prices for each show.

If you click the ‘buy’ button, it will add one ticket to your shopping basket. If you want four tickets, you can either click the ‘buy’ button four times or click the ‘more’ button and enter the number of tickets you wish to purchase in the ‘quantity’ box at the bottom of the page.

"Don’t blame me," declares Ball. “That’s just the way this sales program works.”

It’s called the Great Big Birthday Bash but I like to think of it as the Marcia Ball. After all this, now she can sneak out of town and celebrate on March 20 with just her family. Happy birthday, doll, and bon temps rouler!

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HAAM, Marcia Ball, Health Alliance for Austin Musicians

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