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Q&A Interview With Ann Wilson of Heart (Concert Preview: Friday, June 16, 2017)


Headed to town for a rare, small venue set with her new backing band Friday night at House of Blues, I spoke with Heart vocalist Ann Wilson about the freedom working outside Heart expectations brings in the solo setting, some of her favorite vocalists and about what makes friend and Seattle colleague Chris Cornell a timeless voice... 

Moving from summer package tour to summer package tour, and the expectations that come with a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career that spans more than forty years of hits, can, while an enviable position to be in, get tiresome for an artist looking for creative fulfillment.

It's with that idea, and amidst exhaustively covered questions about Heart's future, that Heart vocalist Ann Wilson launches a rare solo outing.

Putting together a new group was a "great" experience for Wilson. But pleasing fans accustomed to hearing hit songs a certain way over the course of decades, can be tricky. To that end, Wilson's new group includes a certain element of familiarity. Guitarist Craig Bartok is a member, resuming his duties alongside Wilson as he has as a member of Heart since 2004. Denny Fongheiser, drummer in the new group, also handled percussion on the 1995 Heart album The Road Home, while bassist Andy Stoller performed with Wilson previously as a member of The Ann Wilson Thing.

The new group rehearsed at Wilson's Florida home and put their spin on a number of unique covers for inclusion in the new set. In May, Wilson joined Jimmy Kimmel Live! house band The Cletones for a touching tribute to friend and fellow Seattle musician Chris Cornell, taking the lead vocal on a cover of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun." Wilson cites Cornell, amongst artists like Judy Garland and Aretha Franklin, as one of her favorite vocalists. 

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