Ball was raised on the Louisiana-Texas border, a likely place to take on the influences that pervade her craft. She established herself in the Austin scene in the early '70s and cut her first album in 1978 for Capitol. Her reputation grew during a fruitful stint with Rounder through the '80s and '90s; she garnered critical acclaim and W.C. Handy Awards for both her playing and singing. On her recent recordings, Ball the diva has prevailed over Ball the player. Her latest, So Many Rivers, is light on the raucous piano breaks and sports more than a little uptown production sheen. That said, the lady still seems well tethered to her regional roots, be they N'Awlins, Cajun, or Tex-Mex. And besides, a live show is just the place for raisin' some hell.