Ann Wilson of Heart takes ‘artistic walkabout’ to Rose Music Center
By Gary Spencer
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or in a monastery, you know Heart—the rock band fronted by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson responsible for such classic rock radio staples as “Crazy On You,” “Magic Man,” “Barracuda,” and so many others. But before they conquered the rock and roll world, growing up in the Pacific Northwest, music was just a family affair.
“I come from a musical family. No one was a professional but we all sang around each other all the time and just enjoyed music,” Wilson says. “When I started playing guitar I felt what it was like to sing accompanied; it got me into wanting to be in a group. So I started with folk groups and then rock groups. Each one got a little better until I met up with the guys in Heart and joined them. The rest is pretty much history.”
Heart went on to sell over 35 million albums worldwide and charted Top Ten albums in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and 2010’s, including the band’s most recent release, Beautiful Broken, from last year. But after 40-plus years of doing the same thing night after night, sometimes you gotta take a break and do your own thing, and that’s exactly what Ann Wilson is purveying with a 20-date U.S. solo tour.
“Nancy and I wanted to go on our artistic walkabouts for a while,” Wilson says. “It’s gotten to the point where I believe that Heart is getting repetitive. So I wanted to do something that is fresh and different from the past to give Heart a chance to breathe and see what the future brings.”
And with that sentiment at heart, Ann presents her new show simply titled Ann Wilson of Heart, a multi-media event that, according to her press release, is a “beautiful, classy set with an elegant, artistic production.”
“It’s over the top—a total immersion,” Wilson explains. “We have these beautiful visuals to go along with the singing and music: a video presentation carefully designed for each song that makes for a total experience. The lights go down and people get taken away, as if they’re seeing a movie. There’s been a lot of thought that’s gone into this show and I think people owe it to themselves to enjoy quality. I’m very happy about it and it’s a really cool thing!”
As for the song selection, Ann has carefully chosen an array of songs from the Heart catalogue, solo material, and covers that will reflect Ann’s personal take on her own life and music.
“You can expect to hear some Heart songs that have been reimagined, some new songs I’ve written over the past year and a half, and some cool and exciting covers,” Wilson elaborates. “[The cover songs] are beautiful and have always inspired me. They all have messages relative to this very day, and that’s why I’ve included them.”
As for her new solo material, fans can expect the familiarity of Ann’s voice and some hallmark traits of the Heart style, yet, according to Ann, it is still different and stands on its own merits in a personal manner.
“I think that because I was one of the main lyricists for Heart and the only writer for my new stuff, it will resemble the earlier Heart stuff because it all comes from my mind,” she says. “But I think the new songs are more developed, more sophisticated, and they’re more relevant to my emotional structure and the outside world.”
Relevancy and emotion are key reasons why, after decades of success in the music business, Ann keeps performing for her fans night after night, year after year.