Texas Has an Official State Musician, and Her Name Is Marcia Ball

Marcia Ball
Marcia Ball
courtesy the artist
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All good Texans know the official symbols of Texas. State flower? Bluebonnets. State nickname? The Lone Star State. State tree? The pecan.

But who can name the Texas State Musician? This year’s is the king of country music, George Strait.

Although we haven’t yet reached the halfway point of 2017, yesterday the Texas Legislature announced that legendary pianist, songwriter and vocalist Marcia Ball, 68, will be the official 2018 Texas State Musician.

Ball was born Orange, Texas (about 113 miles from Houston). She was raised in Louisiana and settled in Austin in 1970. In 2006, USA Today described the blues singer as “a sensation, saucy singer and superb pianist ... where Texas stomp-rock and Louisiana blues-swamp meet.” Ball is best known for playing New Orleans-style R&B, powerful ballads, Gulf Coast blues and some good ole boogie woogie.

Ball has won 10 Blues Music Awards and eight Living Blues Awards and has received five Grammy nominations. She has been inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame, the Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

“I hope in some way I can raise awareness of the creative community that we are all a part of,” Ball said in a statement.

A selection committee including the state's current poet laureate, musician and artist made the final call after reviewing the list of finalists provided by the Texas Commission on the Arts. Members of the selection committee are appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House of Representatives. State artists serve one-year terms and can play on the TCA’s Texas Touring Roster.

Ball will play at The Kessler on June 4.

Previous Texas State Musicians
2003: James Dick
2004: Ray Benson
2005: Johnny Gimble
2006: Billy Joe Shaver
2007: Dale Watson
2008: Shelley King
2009: Willie Nelson
2010: Sara Hickman
2011: Lyle Lovett
2012: Billy F. Gibbons
2013: Craig Hella Johnson
2014: Flaco Jimenez
2015: Jimmie Vaughan
2016: Joe Ely

Who’s your favorite Texas musician? Let us know in the comments.

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