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Marcia Ball -- 40 years of the blues, and still counting

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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The title track of Marcia Ball's new album is about "The Tattooed Lady and The Alligator Man."

And rest assured that the award-winning Louisiana-born blues singer and pianist, who now calls Austin, Texas, home, has seen her share of both kinds of circus sideshow characters.

"Oh, I`ve seen my share, yes," says Ball, 65. "But I`m more like to go see -- and this is weird -- the two-headed goat or that sort of thing. And down in Texas you can find a two-headed rattlesnake pretty commonly.

"But the other side of is that, at its hard, is a love song. It's saying no matter how different or unusual they look, they can be in love. So that's the basis of that. It's not just, 'Hey, look at the freaks.` "

The song, Ball adds, also comes from being on the road playing music since she was a teenager, a life she describes as "a bit circus-like." This year, in fact, marks the 40th year since she struck out on her own as a solo artist, and even though she's now at an age where she -- happily -- received her Medicare card, she's not planning to stop any time soon.

"It is, like a long time," Ball says with a laugh, but adds that, "it seems like the blink of an eye. I`m grateful to have gotten away with it, and I was lucky at every turn; there were three or four places in my life where I had to decide which way to go, whether to keep going or join somebody else's band or do something else entirely, like being in a play or something, which would have been a gamble, too.

"Fortunately I've always been able to have the right option presented to me. There's not ever been anything I've wanted to do more than this, so I'm just glad I can do what I do. I don't take that for granted, ever."

Marcia Ball

8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22

Callahan's Music Hall, 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills.

Tickets are $30-$40.

Call 248-858-9508 or visit www.atcallahans.com.

Web Site: www.atcallahans.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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