Homegrown, Indie-blues chanteuse, Jackie Venson, was born with the blues in her soul. At 26, the vibrant, guitar shredding front-woman enriches the traditional genre with a youthful, effervescent charm all her own. She sings with an open tenderness and transparent honesty indicative of a seasoned songwriter versed in poetic storytelling. With multiple EP’s and a successful studio album to her name, Venson is gearing up for the September 18th debut of her latest full-length project, Jackie Venson Live, at Austin’s blues mecca, Antone’s.
The 10-track album consists of two sets recorded at south Austin’s Strange Brew and radiates with Venson’s enthusiastic spirit. For the past two years, she has been rocking live shows practically non-stop. So, performance jitters during the recording were a non-issue. The album’s intimate tone is established early during the opening track, ‘Show My Light,’ Venson’s favorite piece from the recording.
“That was the first song from the second set,” she recounts. “We walked in and everyone was talking and having a good time. Then, we started playing…and just silence…no noise. It was like the crowd wasn’t even there and the band was right there on that level with me.”
Venson heats up the crowd with the seductive chorus and chord yanking solo of ‘Real Love’, the album’s sexiest track by far. Then she dips into the realm of funky, electric-psychedelia with the roots-reggae pace of ‘Lost in Time’. “That song is a statement,” she claims. “No matter how people treat you, don’t ever stop being yourself.”
Venson’s songwriting shines on ‘One Step Forward’ as she reminds us what this whole music thing should be about. However, it’s the genre-bending ‘See What I Want’ that Venson proves the depth of her musicianship. An oxymoron of a track, it’s the bluesy-est, yet, also the most diverse piece of the album. At its core, ‘See What I Want’ is a boogie-down jam highlighted by a quick SRV-esque intro and an aura of Stones-ish classic rock. “That’s a party song right there,” Venson claims. “Whenever the band and I feel like getting the energy up, we play that one.”
The percussion elegantly rattles on ‘Back to Earth’ as Venson maps a terrain recognizable to the likes of Tracy Chapman before going full-fledge rock mode on ‘What I Need’. The strum-along chords of ‘Always Free’ close out the album with authentic vibes of positivity familiar to Venson’s style.
Venson’s uplifting interpretation of the blues separates her from the pack. Born into a music rich family, she possess a deep appreciation and understanding of the blues and capably translates the genre with the articulate elegance of an educated songwriter. It’s evident that Venson is simply doing what she loves. And Lucky for us, she’s damn good at it. In her words, “It ain’t about the money or the popularity. It’s the healing and the love and the connectivity.” On September 18, Venson will take the stage at Antone’s where so many blues legends have stood before her. And there’s no doubt that’s exactly where she belongs.
Note: Jackie Venson Live release party at Antone’s on September 18.
Get a copy of the album at the door with a purchased ticket for the event.
Written by: Doug Leach (email@example.com)
Photo Credit: Live Syphon (album cover and corresponding live show)
Photo Credit: Pooneh Ghana (studio photos)