Although she doesn't tour or record anywhere near as much as she probably could, Austin Texas-based singer Lou Ann Barton is among the finest purveyors of raw, emotional roadhouse blues, jump blues, and R&B one is likely to encounter. She can belt out a lyric with so much power and authority that she can be heard over a two-guitar band with horns and drums. Over the course of four decades, she has worked with a who's-who of American bluesmen and women including Marcia Ball, W.C. Clark, Angela Strehli, Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan, Sue Foley, Omar Kent Dykes, Roomful of Blues, and many more. While she has only a few albums to her credit, all are acclaimed by blues enthusiasts. Some of the earliest dates, including 1982's Old Enough and 1986's Forbidden Tones, are bona fide collectors' items. Barton's last recorded appearance was as a billed, featured guest on Jimmie Vaughan's Plays More Blues, Ballads & Favorites in 2011, though she remains extremely active on the Texas club scene.
In 1992, she guested on Alejandro Escovedo's debut solo album Gravity, and had Old Enough reissued by Antone's. A year later, she participated in the recording sessions for Stephen Bruton's debut solo offering What It Is. In 1994, she sang on Jimmie Vaughan's Epic debut Strange Pleasure, and a year later recorded with Roky Erickson on his All That May Do My Rhyme. The session work and live gigs kept Barton busy. She sang on Nuno Mindelis' Texas Bound (alongside Double Trouble's rhythm section, bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton), and Vaughan's Do You Get the Blues? in 2001. Other than a couple of guest spots on a Jimmy Reed tribute, Barton was absent from the recording scene until 2007 when she sang on Vaughan's and Dykes' On the Jimmy Reed Highway in 2007. It was the beginning of renewed recording activity for the singer. She did more work with Dykes in the studio and on the road, and sang on Vaughan's Plays Blues, Ballads & Favorites and Johnny Moeller's BlooGaLoo! in 2010. She was co-billed on Vaughan's Plays More Blues, Ballads & Favorites in 2011 — despite the fact she only sang on two tracks — the sessions also included her old Roomful of Blues bandmate Piccolo on saxophone. Barton works only when she wants to. She has to be seen live to be fully appreciated. Her confident stage swagger is balanced by a presence that embodies not only energy but grace and poise. She is a globally recognized member of the female blues singing lineage — so much so, that if she wanted, she could work all the time; there are numerous artists around the world who would jump at the chance to record or play on-stage with her. ~ Richard Skelly