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February 2011
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Gulf Coast Blues & Boogie: Ruthie Foster / Marcia Ball

Gulf Coast Blues & Boogie: Ruthie Foster / Marcia Ball
Ruthie Foster is renowned for packing a wallop of soul, blues, rock, folk and gospel into every performance. Born into a family of gospel singers in Texas, Foster was initially reluctant to sing, preferring to play the piano. She studied at McLennan Community College in Waco, followed by a tour of duty with the US Navy where she played in the Navy Band. Foster’s list of awards and achievements includes Best Female Vocalist in 2007, 2008 and 2013 from the Austin Music Awards, three Grammy nominations and a fellowship from United States Artists in 2018.


Born into a family whose female members all played piano, Marcia Ball grew up in Vinton, Louisiana, right across the state border with Texas. She began taking piano lessons at age 5, playing old Tin Pan Alley tunes from her grandmother’s collection. At Louisiana State University, Ball played with a blues-based rock band followed by a stint in Austin, Texas, with a progressive blues band, which led to a series of acclaimed albums for multiple labels. Ball has appeared on In Performance at the White House with B.B. King and Della Reese and in Clint Eastwood’s Piano Blues. In 2017, she performed on NPR’s A Jazz Piano Christmas live from the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
Savannah College of Art and Design