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Sonny Landreth & Marcia Ball

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1245 Chicago Avenue

Evanston, IL 60202

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DOORS: 7pm | SHOW: 8pm

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ABOUT THE ARTIST

Genre: Blues

Sonny Landreth

After a dozen acclaimed albums, virtuoso slide guitarist and bandleader Sonny Landreth found himself at an artistic crossroads. He wanted to finally create the full-length acoustic collection his fans had long requested. But he was also itching to capture the sound of his stalwart electric trio augmented by a couple of his favorite collaborators. And the time was certainly right for an elastic, career-spanning double-live album.

So Landreth and his longtime friends decided to do it all. ‘Recorded Live in Lafayette’ is a 16-song opus that covers more musical ground than any single album ever could, as the singer and songwriter’s work stretches and twists across 93 minutes of full-band acoustic and electric bottleneck lightning.

The double CD and vinyl release on Provogue, which includes the most extensive acoustic set ever recorded by Landreth, opens with acoustic arrangements of the artist’s tunes dating back to the 1981 title cut of his debut album, ‘Blues Attack.’ “It gives you a chance to explore those songs in a different way,” Landreth says, describing the textures created by the intersection of Dave Ranson’s ukulele bass, Brian Brignac’s cajón, Steve Conn’s accordion and Sam Broussard’s acoustic guitar. “The familiarity is there,” he adds, ”but I also wanted to turn those guys loose as much as possible.”

The double album arrives on the heels of the Grammy nominee’s back-to-back Blues Music Awards for Best Guitarist and Best Blues Album for ‘Bound by the Blues.’ Live favorites “Hell at Home” and “U.S.S. Zydecoldsmobile” also get the unplugged treatment, alongside a rare rendition of “Creole Angel” and an evergreen 6:47 amble through “Key to the Highway.” “If I’ve ever had a theme song, that would be it,” Landreth explains. “All of my heroes have done it, and it’s still to me one of the greatest blues tunes ever written. It’s kind of like coming home.”

Landreth has collaborated with the very top names in guitar over the years: Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Eric Johnson, Derek Trucks – the list goes on. The noted slideman cut his musical teeth in The Red Hot Louisiana Band of zydeco king Clifton Chenier, and Landreth has since recorded and toured with artists ranging from John Mayall to John Hiatt. ‘Recorded Live in Lafayette’ adds another major chapter to his tale, as new vocal and instrumental colors emerge, with guitarist Sam Broussard providing brilliant musical counterpoint to Landreth’s innovative playing on songs like “A World Away.” “There’s nothing like a slow minor blues,” Landreth says. “I don’t think there’s anything more beautiful.” Referencing Conn and Broussard’s contributions to his composition, he adds, “This track has one of the greatest accordion blues solos of all time, only to be followed by one of the greatest acoustic blues guitar solos of all time. I’m blown away, and we never plotted out who was gonna play where on what.”

“Bound by the Blues” and “The High Side” chronicle Landreth’s inspirations and adventures, rounding out the acoustic set by showcasing Landreth’s work on a pair of unique resonator guitars – a custom-engraved Beltona given to him by Knopfler and a Larry Pogreba custom featuring a 1950s Oldsmobile hubcap.

The encore-level intensity of Landreth’s tour de force tale of romance leading him “Back to Bayou Teche” opens the electric proceedings, before the playlist floats into the ethereal sting of “True Blue.” Conn’s Hammond organ snakes through the second disc, adding the dimensionality he’s provided to countless Landreth performances over the years.

A triptych of instrumentals kicks off with the soaring “Milky Way Home,” which brings the range of Landreth’s longtime trio mates Ranson and Brignac into high relief. “‘Brave New Girl’ is my favorite among my instrumentals,” Landreth notes. “Live, it’s become joined at the hip with ‘Überesso,’ even though they first appeared on different albums. ‘Brave New Girl’ is probably the most complex and nuanced instrumental piece I’ve ever done, and it’s a good example of how, if you have a song you believe in, then the interpretation with a three-piece band opens up all these spaces, dynamics, and a range of emotions. And then at the apex of that we segue into ‘Überesso,’ so it’s back-to-back the two most difficult songs for me to play.”

“Soul Salvation” eases the tempo for a swaying slow dance. Landreth wrote the song for his mother many years ago, and he and Ranson played it at her memorial service just a few months before tracking ‘Recorded Live in Lafayette,’ which is dedicated to her memory. “Walking Blues” returns her Mississippi-born son to a Delta stomp before the double-album’s surprise ending: Conn leading the band for “The One and Only Truth,” a tip of the hat to his mother’s advice about going for broke.

“If you get your best friends together, you might well find the magic,” Landreth muses. “And what better way to end a hometown gig than with an accordion playing a fuel-injected double shuffle?”

Landreth’s co-producer Tony Daigle recorded the three shows through a 48-channel API 1608 console that had just been used by U2 and was freighted down courtesy of the company’s president/owner Larry Droppa. The different CD and vinyl packages were created by Grammy-nominated graphic designer Megan Barra, and Landreth will support the release with trio dates as well as duo collaborations with gifted lap slide guitarist Cindy Cashdollar.

“I don’t take opportunities like this for granted, and I wanted to feature everybody that’s in the band,” Landreth emphasizes. “I hope that as part of this celebration of music from so many years of my life that we also shed some light on each of them. You can look up their work and you’re in for one hell of a ride.”

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Marcia Ball

Pianist and singer/songwriter Marcia Ball is a living example of how East Texas blues meets Southwest Louisiana swamp rock. Ball was born March 20, 1949, in Orange, Texas, but grew up across the border in Vinton, Louisiana. That town is squarely in the heart of "the Texas Triangle," an area that includes portions of both states and has produced some of the country's greatest blues talents, including Janis Joplin, Johnny and Edgar Winter, Queen Ida Guillory, Lonnie Brooks, Zachary Richard, and Clifton Chenier, to name a few. Ball's earliest awareness of blues came over the radio, where she heard people like Irma Thomas, Professor Longhair, and Etta James, all of whom she credits as influences. She began playing piano at age five, learning from her grandmother and aunt while also taking formal lessons from a teacher.

Ball entered Louisiana State University in the late '60s as an English major; in college, she played in the psychedelic rock & roll band Gum. In 1970, Ball and her first husband were headed west in their car to San Francisco, but the car needed repairs in Austin, Texas, where they had stopped off to visit one of their former bandmates. After experiencing some of the music, sights, and food in Austin, the two decided to stay. Ball has been based in Austin ever since. Ball landed a record deal with Capitol Records, who issued the country-leaning Circuit Queen in 1971. The album made little commercial impact, and she soon joined Freda & the Firedogs, an outlaw country group who cut an album for Atlantic in 1972 (produced by Jerry Wexler) that went unreleased until 2002 due to contractual problems. She continued to work with the band, who issued a live album in 1979, while playing solo gigs in which she honed her signature piano style, mixing equal parts boogie-woogie with zydeco and Louisiana swamp rock.

In time, Ball landed a deal with Rounder Records, who released her second solo album, Soulful Dress, in 1983. The album connected with blues fans as Ball began winning a loyal audience through her energetic live shows, as well as her strength as a vocalist and songwriter. She regularly returned to the studio, with Rounder releasing 1985's Hot Tamale Baby, 1989's Gatorhythms, and 1994's Blue House. Ball also collaborated with vocalists Angela Strehli and Lou Ann Barton on Dreams Come True, issued in 1990 by Antone's Records.

In the late '90s, Ball released her final discs under the Rounder banner, Let Me Play with Your Poodle (1997) and Sing It! (1998). The latter featured Ball teaming with Irma Thomas and Tracy Nelson, including both solo performances and combined energy. The album generated well-deserved recognition for all three women when it was nominated for both a Grammy and a W.C. Handy Blues Award as Best Contemporary Blues Album. After earning critical praise for her Rounder recordings, Ball signed with the well-respected blues label Alligator Records in 2000 and released her first album for the label, Presumed Innocent, in 2001. While maintaining a busy touring schedule, playing clubs and festivals throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, Ball still found time to visit the recording studio on a regular basis, with Alligator releasing So Many Rivers in 2003, the live album Down the Road in 2005, Peace, Love & BBQ in 2008, and Roadside Attractions in 2011.

For the 2014 release The Tattooed Lady and the Alligator Man, Ball brought along a few special guests, including Texas blues veteran Delbert McClinton, Cajun accordion ace Terrance Simien, and frequent Leonard Cohen collaborator Roscoe Beck. Ball hit the road after the album's release, keeping up her typically busy touring schedule while making guest appearances on albums by Tommy Castro & the Painkillers (2014's The Devil You Know) and Mitch Woods (2017's Friends Along the Way). Ball headed back to the studio for 2018's Shine Bright, produced by Los Lobos sax man Steve Berlin.

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FAQs

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Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event? Unless otherwise indicated, all of our shows are all ages. Please bring a valid ID.

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event? Residential street parking is free after 6pm Monday through Saturday. Street parking is free on Sunday. Metered parking is free after 9pm. SPACE is located one block east of the Dempster Purple Line Stop.

What can I bring into the event? SPACE has a full bar with an exciting array of cocktails and an extensive beer list. While we do not serve food in our venue, customers are welcome to bring in pizza from Union, the restaurant up front. No outside food or beverages are allowed inside.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions? For questions regarding your order, please email boxoffice@evanstonspace.com or call 847.492.8860.

What's the refund policy? All tickets are non-refundable.

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1245 Chicago Avenue

Evanston, IL 60202

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