Ann Wilson stretches her musical muscles with a tour featuring new, original material
For nearly four-and-a-half decades, Heart has worked hard establishing their legacy thanks to a successful recording and touring streak. The Seattle-based band has not only circled the globe numerous times, but scored 20 Top 40 singles along the way and had the longest span of Top 10 albums by a female-fronted band.
Last year’s “Beautiful Broken,” the band’s 16th studio album, was released in time for Heart to headline a bill with Cheap Trick and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts that played numerous open-air sheds throughout the summer. And while these dates were well-received by fans, the hit-driven set lists got Heart vocalist Ann Wilson wanting to change things up a little bit in 2017.
“(Heart) went all over the world last year with Cheap Trick and Joan Jett. It was a big, middle-of-the-road shed kind of tour where each band got up and played their hits,” she recalled in a recent phone interview. “It kind of drove me to the point of wanting to stretch my legs out a little bit more musically.”
With both Wilson and her sister, Heart guitarist Nancy, putting their main gig on hiatus; the former is getting a chance to play with a number of ex-Heart members (Craig Bartock and Denny Fongheiser) and road test some newer material that just might wind up on an EP by year’s end. Her sister, on the other hand, has crafted a solo tour that won’t exactly be Heart 2.0. Wilson expects fans of her other group to be pleased with the live results, when she heads to Tropicana Atlantic City 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19.
“The major thing (concertgoers) should expect is that this is not a Heart tour. There will be some Heart songs played for sure, but there will also be some of my originals that are newer and some really cool covers,” she explained. “This is a really great little, lean and mean unit, and I like it a lot. It’s going to be really fun for people.”
With a deep canon of songs that includes classic rock staples (“Barracuda,” “Magic Man”) and 1980s pop favorites (“What About Love,” “Alone,” “Never,” “Who Will You Run To”), Heart’s combination of longevity and consistency eventually earned the band induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.
And while the Wilson sisters have always been respected rock stars, they’ve never stopped being fans, dating back to when the duo first saw Led Zeppelin on a bill with Three Dog Night and the Fifth Dimension back in 1969. Wilson admits that Zeppelin’s rendition of “The Lemon Song” proved she and her sibling, “... weren’t ready for big-girl sexuality yet. Several years later, it was a different story,” and the elder sister’s earliest musical inspiration came from a far more unlikely source.