Legendary rocker Ann Wilson to perform at Lockn'
With the release of “Dreamboat Annie” in 1975, sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson proved that not only could women rock, they could rock hard.
“With ‘Dreamboat Annie,’ the sisters Wilson launched themselves into a stardom that would not be without sexist backlash,” Marissa Lorusso wrote this summer for NPR Music’s list of “The 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women.” “But in the process, they provided a model for a generation of unapologetic rock and roll women.”
Heart, which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 and continued to tour until recently, remains a rock music staple thanks to the staying power of timeless hits such as “Barracuda” and “Alone.”
And behind each of those songs is the rip-roaring, sultry vocals of Ann Wilson, who will make a special appearance at Lockn’ 2017, performing Friday night with Gov’t Mule.
“Did you see Ann Wilson on the Lincoln Center Awards [in 2012] when she did ‘Stairway to Heaven?’ You gotta Google that,” said Lockn’ co-founder Dave Frey. “It’s really unbelievable. She can sing the phone book.”
Wilson’s stop at Lockn’ comes between two legs of her current solo tour, which she has been on since March and will wrap up in November. During these shows, she has entertained audiences not just with Heart classics, but with covers from artists as diverse as Jimi Hendrix, Peter Gabriel and Aretha Franklin.
“I’m really excited about Warren Haynes [of Gov’t Mule] with Ann Wilson from Heart because both of them historically have played Led Zeppelin covers really well,” Frey said. “...Whether you’re a Heart fan or not, it’s not necessarily about Heart when she shows up. It’s going to be about her singing.”
Before she hits the stage at Lockn’, Wilson talked about cover songs, women rockers and the legacy of Heart.
How would you say rock has changed from when you entered the genre to where it is now?
“It’s just unrecognizable. It’s completely different. I don’t want to sing the glories of the past over the present, but it’s so different. There used to be a lot more emphasis put on authenticity. ... I don’t see it actually being practiced as much in record productions or presentations of new artists. It’s all art by committee and lots of different, a million different, beat-getters and producers and lyricists. You don’t really know who the artist is.
“Just Auto-tune itself makes singers sound pretty anonymous. I think that would be the biggest change. If people used to sing off-key, you knew about it. You knew that they weren’t very good singers. Now, you can hear somebody that sounds perfected and you can’t tell who they are, and they sound perfect in this robotic way.”