Interview: Before Clearwater stop, Ann Wilson talks pouring her heart into new solo tour
Hard rock in the 1970’s was mostly a boy’s club. The long haired, fist-pumping bands that jammed FM radio waves and drew concertgoers by the tens of thousands to every cavernous arena around the country in record numbers had to make room for a pair of women who emerged in the middle of the decade, though.
It was in the summer of 1975 that sister act Heart emerged with their red hot debut album Dreamboat Annie and turned the genre and its many stereotypes on their collective ear. Leading a mostly male kickass rock and roll band, it was clear that the real stars of this show were guitarist and vocalist Nancy Wilson and her big sister, lead vocalist extraordinaire, Ann Wilson. Not since the emergence of Led Zeppelin lead vocalist and powerhouse Robert Plant had anyone heard another singer as strong and commanding blast through their speakers quite like Ann. Clear, crisp, powerful, forceful and bold yet still capable of cooing sweet, dulcet, quieter tones, Wilson’s voice was (and still is) impossible to aptly describe as it defies categorization and travels places that few other rock singers, male or female, have ever been capable of reaching.
A resurgence in the 1980s brought Heart a new look, a new sound…and a new audience thanks to regular exposure on music video channel MTV. Heart’s fans — either those who embraced them from the very beginning or via their string of 80’s hits — remain some of the most loyal and fiercely dedicated of all, so many should revel in the fact that Ann is opting to take her solo show out on the road this summer.
Instead of hitting the outdoor amphitheater and arena circuit as Ann and Nancy have for many summer tours in recent years, Ann is hitting small, intimate venues and getting back in touch with the closeness of playing to theater-sized crowds. Before hitting the road on her solo jaunt, Ann Wilson took some time out to speak to me about her tour, her music, her travel plans and the cool stuff she’ll be including in her solo concerts.