Living Blues - 9/03, p.89
"...Ball holds her own as a composer - her originals sound like timeless classics, comparable to Dan Penn's seminal catalog of southern soul masterpieces..."
Personnel: Marcia Ball (vocals, piano); Stephen Bruton (acoustic & electric guitar, mandolin); James Pennebaker (guitar, lap steel, baritone guitar, fiddle); Pat Boyack (gutiar); Wayne Toups (accordion); Johnny Nicholas (harmonica, background vocals); Red Young (Hammond B-3 organ); Don Bennett, Yoggie Musgrove, Chris Maresh (bass); Tom Fillman (drums); Deborah Dobkin (percussion); Lisa Tingle, Randy Jacobs, Alicia Jones, Kai Tolbert (background vocals); The Texas Horns, The Los Angeles Horns.
Recorded at The Hit Shack, Austin, Texas.
SO MANY RIVERS was nominated for the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album.
Personnel: Marcia Ball (vocals, piano); Wayne Toups (vocals, accordion); James Pennebaker (guitar, lap steel guitar, baritone guitar, fiddle); Pat Boyack (guitar); Stephen Bruton (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, background vocals); John Nichols (harmonica, background vocals); Lon Price (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); Greg "Frosty" Smith (tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone); Kaz Kazanoff (tenor saxophone); Lee Thornburg, Gary Slechta (trumpet); Nick Lane (trombone); Tom Fillman, Keith Robinson (drums); Debra Dobkin (percussion); Randy Jacobs, Alicia Jones (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Chet Himes.
Recording information: Greenleaf, Place, N. Hollywood, CA; The hit Shack, Austin, TX.
Author: Marcus Aurelius.
Arranger: Red Young.
Growing up in the small town of Vinton, Louisiana, just across the border from Texas, Marcia Ball spent her childhood absorbing the rich sounds of both New Orleans and the eastern part of the Lone Star State. These influences have continued to shape her music right up through her 10th solo album, SO MANY RIVERS. Produced by respected sideman/songwriter Stephen Bruton, Ball's 2003 outing finds the lanky beauty constantly changing gears as her impressive singing and piano playing ranges from the gospel-tinged raucousness of "If It Ain't One Thing" and the rollicking rhythms of "Foreclose on the House of Love" (complete with potent horn arrangements) to a zydeco-flavored reading of Danny Timms's "Honeypie."
Sprinkled throughout are six Ball originals including the sanctified splendor of "Give Me a Chance," the bluesy stroll of "Give It Up (Give In)" and the sly swinger "The Lowdown." Ball's most impressive moments come when she eases into a laid-back reading of Eddie Hinton's "Three Hundred Pounds of Hongry" and a heartfelt version of Arthur Alexander's "If It's Really Got to Be This Way" that does justice to the memories of both late southern legends.