by: CTBoom correspondent John Voket, who also writes for The Newtown Bee. The following is an excerpt from that discussion.
Heart and the Wilson sisters – Ann and Nancy – were early trendsetters along with fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artists like Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, Joan Jett, Madonna and Patti Smith, Debra Harry of Blondie, Bonnie Raitt, and Connecticut’s own Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads, proving to three generations of aspiring young female musicians that girls DO rock!
In 2015, Ann Wilson continued her trendsetting ways by not only fashioning a musical project that distinctly separates her from her sister in concert, but from all that Heart music that made the the Wilson sisters famous.
The new year continues to find Ann Wilson out on the road supporting her solo project, before heading back to her “old” band Heart for a summer tour coincidentally sharing the bill with Joan Jett along with Cheap Trick. She will be performing in the intimate confines of The Ridgefield Playhouse this Saturday, March 26 at 8 pm.
This new project gives Wilson a chance to put all those Heart hits on the shelf in favor of breaking out a set of her favorite cover tunes in front of a fresh new quartet of musicians — here’s what Wilson had to say:
CTBoom: Tell me about your Ann Wilson Thing backing band.
Ann Wilson: We’ve got some members from Heart and a couple of others. We’ve got Andy Stoller playing the bass, Ben Smith playing drums, Chris Joyner on keyboards, Craig Bartock on guitar and slide, and me on acoustic — that’s it.
CTBoom: Weren’t you and your sister playing pretty much all covers when you were first starting out?
Ann Wilson: We did a lot of covers at first when we were learning how to play before we started Heart — which for the first couple of years was pretty much all covers. So, for me to play just covers is — there’s no shame to it. If they can be made my own and if they can be mixed with new originals, it’s a really great show. There are people who really like covers if you’re careful about picking the right ones. For example, we’re doing the Peter Gabriel song “Don’t Give Up.” We’re not doing “Johnny B. Goode”; we’re doing songs that have some meaning to us.
CTBoom: Was the EP #1 recording process relatively quick, or did you spend time tweaking it to get it just right?
Ann Wilson: We didn’t want to go into a big traditional studio situation. We did stuff in Craig’s home studio, and we included as much live stuff as we could. We really wanted it to be the same as how people are experiencing The Ann Wilson Thing in concert as much as possible.
CTBoom: Has your recent induction along with Heart into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame had a major impact?
Ann Wilson: I think it helps when booking a band that’s been inducted into the Rock Hall — in that they think about the band slightly differently. I guess in a rock and roll way it’s like having a master’s degree when you’re looking for a teaching post — you have those letters after your name. So for a band, there’s a certain amount of respect that’s there in the minds of booking agents. That means better gigs.