Marcia Ball, Sonny Landreth start Mardi Gras early

Sonny Landreth’s unique style is on display at the Crystal Bay Casino.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage photos

Laissez le bon temps rouler! Pardon the French, that means, Let the good times roll!

The Mardi Gras spirits were high on Friday with music at the Crystal Bay Casino.

A dual headlining show featured Sonny Landreth, who lives in Louisiana, and Marcia Ball, who grew up in Louisiana.

“New Orleans is a party town, you can let your hair down,” sang Ball, the boogie-woogie piano great.

A mostly older crowd remained seated for the first few songs by Ball, who playfully admonished, “That’s enough of that stuff.”

Sorry front row, it was time for people to dance in front of the stage.

Ball’s Austin-based group includes guitarist Mighty Mike Schermer, who lives part time in Truckee. Schermer was given the spotlight for solos throughout the evening.

Coincidentally, the first instrument for both Schermer and Landreth was the trombone.

Landreth’s legion of fans include guitar players who are amazed at his musicianship. He plays with a special thumb pick, uses a slide and creates a baseline while fingerpicking. He opened acoustically on a Telecaster with the knobs turned backward before rocking it up a bit more with an electric Stratocaster.

“Here’s an uptempo, depressing song. We like to play both ends of the spectrum,” Landreth announced before “Key to the Highway.”

Landreth played several songs from his album, “Blacktop Run,” which was released on the day of the show. The vinyl was available at the merch table. The CDs were probably en route to the East Coast where the tour continues.

It was the 11th concert in a row for the two bands. Landreth’s drummer battled through a 101 fever and his band members endured a midday smash-and-grab van burglary in Sacramento.

It was Ball’s eighth Crown Room show but first since 2015. The play list was quite different from the band’s last show at the venue, although many of Ball’s classic songs were performed, including a fiery, fresh arrangement of “Play With Your Poodle.”

A highlight was “Shine Bright,” the title track of the latest Marcia Ball album.

“Instill that reflective instinct to be good and that will scare the hell out of people,” she said, introducing the song that celebrates people such as Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks.

The final song of the encore set was a song made famous by New Orleans’ most famous piano legend, Professor Longhair” “Mardi Gras.”

Laissez le bon temps rouler!

-Tim Parsons

Marcia Ball shines bright in her eighth Crystal Bay Casino appearance.
Sonny Landreth
Mighty Mike Schermer and Long Tall Marcia Ball.
Mighty Mike Schermer
Landreth opened with his Fender Telecaster.

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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