Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Heart’s New Album Debuts At #10

Heart’s new album Red Velvet Car has not only cracked into the Billboard 200 Albums chart, but has debuted at the number 10 spot.

The new album marks the seventh top 10 album for the Seattle-based duo of sisters Nancy and Ann Wilson and their highest charting debut album to date. It is the band’s first top 10 album since 1990′s Brigade, which reached number three.

The new album contains ten tracks, including a cover of the Lovemongers’ song “Sand.” The album was released on August 31 and the sisters are already out on a tour of North America, which kicked off last January and will run until November. A European leg is expected to be announced for 2011.


Another Photo from "Turn It Up!"

What a cutie! :D

Little RVC Mention in LA Times Blog

In the Critics Notebook blog, the writer, Ann Powers, posted this comment:

Pop is a wide open field. It really describes whatever is popular at the moment -- usually hybrid forms -- even Gaga's music is a mix of Euro dance and glammish rock via Elton John. Rock, on the other hand, developed an unfortunately stringent set of rules as it matured, and a very masculine stance. "Indie" rock has more room for different kinds of people, but mainstream rock remains pretty much a guys' game. Pop has big male stars -- Jason Mraz comes to mind -- but rock still lacks many major female artists.

Speaking of which, everybody needs to check out Heart's excellent new album, "Red Velvet Car"!

Back in the Drivers Seat: A Review of Red Velvet Car

It's been a long time since the Wilson sisters produced what I would describe as a classic Heart studio album, or one that has a home in the old Muirsical Box of goodies, but Heart's new album 'Red Velvet Car' has both of those boxes ticked.

What I find most satisfying - and pleasantly surprising - is Ann and Nancy Wilson have not taken the easy retro-rock route and tried to reinvent Heart's successful mid to late 1980s period. It may have been tempting, but surely not as musically rewarding. That melodic rock era was a huge success for Heart and the album of the same name was a multi-platinum seller. They continued that trend with their next two releases, but as the melodic 80s made way for the alternative 90s they suffered the same fate as many similar acts - diminishing returns and less cohesive releases.

A number of classic rock acts have revisited 80s melodic rock for inspiration or to try and recapture their successful past, but here Heart have gone back beyond their melodic rock years and returned to their musical roots. They have captured the vibe and sound of their early acoustic rock releases as featured on their 1976 debut 'Dreamboat Annie', the following year's 'Little Queen' and the classic 'Dog & Butterfly'. They have also managed to revisit without repeating, which is a third tick in the box for me.

There are clear musical references to the albums mentioned above, but you won't hear the same melodies or chord structures repeated on 'Red Velvet Car'. What you will hear are well crafted, well arranged songs and as much as this release is a perfect companion to the aforementioned albums, it could only have been written thirty years on. Like Heart themselves it's an older and wiser album, built on personal and musical growth. It may well also be their most mature release to date.

The album does carry a number of heavier or edgier moments where the band gets to rock out - 'WTF' is a great example - but it's the introspective or quieter moments that set the tone and produce the album's strongest tracks. The ten track album (in its base release form - see later) is short but sweet - and a clear case of where less is more. Highlights include the title track, 'There You Go Again' with its Stevie Nicks-esque groove and 'Sand'. 'Sand' is a reworking of a song Ann and Nancy did with 'The Lovemongers', the band the sisters put together in the nineties with Sue Ennis (who co-wrote some of the material on 'Dog & Butterfly'). This is a similar and lovely version which closes out the album's ten tracks.

The ten track album description is a little misleading however. Depending on what version you have/ hear, the track listing and track order will vary as the U.S. and European versions differ and carry bonus tracks. There are three bonus tracks on the Stateside downloadable version but (rather annoyingly) only two on the European CD version. All three - the ballads 'Closer to the Sun', 'In the Cool' and the quirky 'Bootful of Beer' - deserve a place on the album.

As regards the band, special mention should go to Ann Wilson. I believe her to be the finest female vocalist in the world of rock and she shines on this album, musically and vocally comfortable within the songs. I'm pleased to say her six-string sister Nancy still takes the occasional lead, being none too shabby in front of a microphone herself. The classic line-up is long gone, but the Heart sound of the last few years has been alive and well courtesy of Ann, Nancy, Ben Smith (drums), Craig Bartock (guitars), Debbie Shair (keyboards) and Rick Markmann (bass).

If your memories or affection for Heart relate to that big hair and spandex era (and that was just the guys in the band) and you're looking for another 'What About Love' or three then this album may not be for you. But if you always wished Ann and Nancy would do a throwback album to their formative and most creative decade, then this is an essential purchase. It's certainly an album after my own...Heart.


VH1 100 Greatest Artists of All-Time Snubs

Recently VHI released their list for the 100 Greatest Artists of All-Time according to a poll consisting solely of other artists and musicians. While the list is fairly comprehensive and the top three are virtually not debatable (3. Bob Dylan, 2. Michael Jackson, 1. The Beatles), there are some major oversights as to who did not make it on the list. Here are some artists who deserved to be ranked the next time the poll is taken.


The Seattle by way of Canada based-band centering around sisters Nancy and Ann Wilson were pure hard rock with a touch of relatable vulnerability. Their hits ranged from gritty guitar rock (“Crazy On You” “Barracuda” “Magic Man”) to sentimental ballads that ensure them a spot in dentist office playlists forever (“These Dreams”). In the testosterone laden era of 70s rock, Heart stood out for being distinct and surprisingly ballsier than most of their peers.

Source Hot Tours

Total Gross
Show Dates
Show Venue/City (Shows/Sellouts)
Total Attendance (Capacity)

#2: HEART 

July 20-Sept. 5
Community Auditorium, Thunder Bay, Ontario (1/0)
Mattawa Voyageur Days, Mattawa, Ontario (1/0)
Casino Rama, Rama, Ontario (1/0)
Bank of America Pavilion, Boston (1/0)
Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion, Gilford, N.H. (1/0)
MGM Grand at Foxwoods, Mashantucket, Conn. (1/0)
Pier Six Concert Pavilion, Baltimore (1/0)
Hammerstein Ballroom, New York (1/0)
Celeste Center, Ohio State Fairgrounds, Columbus (1/0)
Trib Total Media Amphitheatre, Pittsburgh (1/0)
Caesars Circus Maximus, Atlantic City (1/0)
Musikfest, Bethlehem, Pa. (1/0)
Innsbrook Pavilion, Glen Allen, Va. (1/0)
nTelos Wireless Pavilion, Portsmouth, Va. (1/0)
Raleigh Amphitheater, Raleigh, N.C. (1/0)
Road Runner Mobile Amphitheatre, Charlotte (1/0)
Ryman Auditorium, Nashville (1/0)
Chastain Park Amphitheatre, Atlanta (1/0)
Von Braun Center, Huntsville, Ala. (1/0)
Oklahoma City Zoo Amphitheatre, Oklahoma City (1/0)
House of Blues, Dallas (1/1)
Sandia Casino Amphitheater, Albuquerque (1/0)
Paramount Theatre, Denver (1/0)
Heartland Events Center, Grand Island, Neb. (1/0)
DTE Energy Music Center, Clarkston, Mich. (1/0)
Family Arena, St. Charles, Mo. (1/0)
Downstream Casino Resort, Quapaw, Okla. (1/0)
75,695 (144,875)

LezGetReal: Review of Red Velvet Car

It has been six years since the release of Jupiter’s Darling, and as with that album, I was nervous and concerned about the announcement of a new Heart album. I began listening to Heart back in 1984 with the release of their self titled album Heart, and I have not stopped listening to them ever since even though I have changed how I listen to them. When Jupiter’s Darling came out, I preordered the CD. When Red Velvet Car came out, I downloaded it to my computer and played it on my iPod.

The songs of Red Velvet Car range across the spectrum. The songs range from slow ballads such as “Sand” to harder rock driven songs such as “WTF”.  Perhaps the best song on the album is the melodious and dream-like “Sand”, which actually had me closing my eyes and just enjoying the flow of the song. “Sand” is one of those songs that has the power to pull the listener in and transport them somewhere else with its simple lyrics and its acoustic flavor. The song is a tribute to Ann’s late gardener. It is reminiscent of their song “Love Alive,” or more accurately, of their song “Too Long A Time”, which has only ever been heard in a bonus track on Little Queen. It is Heart at their best.

Unlike so much music today which seems poorly mixed with an emphasis more on upping the loudness than anything else, Red Velvet Car had a stronger emphasis on the harmony of the music and the vocals of Ann Wilson, whose voice is as strong as it has ever been as Heart goes into the last half of its third decade in production.

Included in the download are three specials. There is the video for “WTF”, which is mostly concert footage, and two live classic Heart tracts. The live tracts are “Magic Man” and “Never”. The latter is often not heard in live compilations.

Ultimately, Red Velvet Car is stronger than their last album, Jupiter’s Darling. Its mix of different styles suits Ann Wilson’s voice beautifully, and the songs, for the most part, compliment each other.

Heart continues to be a strong recording force. As one of the first female-fronted Rock bands, they blazed a trail for many later artists. While there were many problems for them in the beginning, the group, which has featured sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson since their first album Dreamboat Annie, has managed to shift and survive through changes in the music scene. Let us hope that we do not have to wait another six years for the next Heart album.


Classic Acts Deliver New Discs

Ann Wilson used to like to unnerve the male members of the various local bands in her native Seattle by belting out Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” with a ferocity that matched Robert Plant’s original vocal. Along with her sister Nancy, their band, Heart, recorded a string of successful albums such as 1976’s “Dreamboat Annie” and “Dog & Butterfly” from 1978.

Heart hit the comeback trail in the mid-80s, and songs like “These Dreams” and “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You” extended their string of hits into the early ‘90s. After an extended break, Heart returns with “Red Velvet Car” (Legacy), an album packed with acoustic ballads and determined rockers that bear the indelible shimmer of the Wilsons’ melodic, still spine-tingling harmonies.

Wilson’s voice barely hints at how much time has passed since she first belted out “Magic Man” more than 30 years ago, and the equally theatrical “Safronia’s Mark” is a wide-eyed, rousing rocker in the same vein. Her sister Nancy still knows how to convincingly emote on “Hey You,” an especially tuneful performance that harks back to the sound of the band’s ‘80s power ballads. And despite the fact that the title track and “Death Valley” are by-the-numbers rockers, the pair of songs that close the album, the engaging “Sunflower” and the reflective “Sand” find Ann and Nancy Wilson still more than capable of upstaging any of their male contemporaries.


Ann and Nancy on The Acoustic Storm

Each part aired on a different hour of the Acoustic Storm this Sunday. Nice interview snippets and incredible live performances! :D

Interview Part 1 & Acoustic Live Performance of Barracuda:

Acoustic Live Performance of Hey You & Straight On (Acoustic):

Interview Part 2 & Acoustic Live Performance of Crazy On You:

Cook With Fire from Universal City!

Another great video from the Gibson Amphitheatre show :D

Six Degrees of Heart's Little Queen

It used to be easier to pretend that an album was its own perfectly self-contained artifact. The great records certainly feel that way. But albums are more permeable than solid, their motivations, executions and inspirations informed by, and often stolen from, their peers and forbearers. It all sounds awfully formal, but it's not. It's the very nature of music — of art, even. The Six Degrees features examine the relationships between classic records and five other albums we've deemed related in some way. In some cases these connections are obvious, in others they are tenuous. But, most important to you, all of the records are highly, highly recommended.

Though they had been preceded in the '70s by such all-distaff middling sellers as Fanny and Birtha, Heart were, by any objective standard, the first really popular band to pass muster in their heyday as metal whose main members were women — namely, singer (and frequent multi-instrumentalist) Ann Wilson and her guitar-playing (and occasionally singing) little sister Nancy. The rest of the band was all male, sure, but can you name any off the top of your head? Didn't think so. Awestruck, zitfaced '70s high school Beavises inevitably hornily dubbed them "Led Zeppelin with tits," and critics followed suit: Mikal Gilmore, in the 1979 edition of The Rolling Stone Record Guide, started out, "Take Ian Anderson and Robert Plant, endow them with mammaries, and you have the essence of Heart." Which is both reductive and condescending — on the cover of 1977's Little Queen, the only visible cleavage belongs to the archer on the back. Who happens to be a man.

Which too is significant, as is the cover's entire Renaissance Faire motif where the dudes all look like pretty boys hired to service the ladies. Because one big thing Heart brought to hard rock was a free-flowing, machismo-free brand of lust, perhaps realized most voluptuously in "Crazy on You" and "Magic Man," from their 1975 debut Dreamboat Annie. That record originally came out on the Vancouver indie label Mushroom, which followed it with a pile of half-baked demos called Magazine, not to mention a Rolling Stone ad implying that Ann and Nancy were lesbian bedmates. Which incident, the story goes, inspired the ichthyological teeth-gnashing of "Barracuda," the first and signature song of Little Queen, the first album Heart actually recorded for a major record company. Thirty-one years later, "Barracuda" was appropriated as the theme song of Sarah Palin's vice-presidential campaign, to both the liberal consternation and royalty profit of the band.

Guitarwise and drumwise, "Barracuda" is one of history's great Zep rips ("Immigrant Song" or "Achilles Last Stand" — take your pick), but it's also one of only three truly loud rockers on Little Queen. The others are the concise, speed-freaked "Kick It Out" — an under-three-minute nugget that rarely gets its due — and the longer, more Zep-funked title track. "Say Hello" may well be an anomaly in the band's catalog, given its Brazilian pop-samba rhythm (similar to Paul Simon's "Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard," and maybe even a far-distant great-aunt of something-or-other by Vampire Weekend), not to mention the audible audio-vérité sandlot baseball game (even some umpire shouting out "batter up!") going on in the background as it begins. The rest of the album is more folk: Celtic jangle, flower-power flutes, proto-New Age atmosphere, madrigal mysticism, even a borderline jazzish Joni Mitchell/Laura Nyro confessional called "Treat Me Well," crooned by Nancy not Ann. If you've got an imagination, you might hear Axl Rose circa Use Your Illusion presaged in parts of "Love Alive" and "Go On Cry"; the even more open-minded might note how Heart's bicentennial concert rendition of "Stairway To Heaven," added as a bonus cut upon the album's 2004 CD reissue, breaks into a "Sweet Home Alabama" rhythm at the end. But either way, "Dream Of The Archer" is clearly about that open-shirted Cupid on the album cover, shooting you with his poison arrow.

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Dozens of Ways to ♥ New York

This is so cute!

Now that JetBlue Airways is using Milton Glaser’s famous “I ♥ NY” logo in a new advertising campaign, The Times asked readers to imagine commingling Mr. Glaser’s logo with other New York brands or slogans.


Heart #1 on MadeMan's List of 10 Best Female Fronted Rock Bands

Not only is Heart included on this list, they top it! Now that's what I'm talking about :D


Nancy in the Trailer for "Turn It Up!"

 "Turn It Up!" is a feature-length celebration of the electric guitar. Hosted by Kevin Bacon, the film explores mankind’s passion for the electric guitar, and its effect on artists, everyday players, pop culture, history, and even politics.

Turn it Up! is the STORY of the electric guitar, from the invention in the 1930s to its golden years, right through the phenomenon of the Guitar Hero video-game and the digital guitars of the future. But, it’s also a series of guitar STORIES, where we’ll meet all kinds of people from rock stars, to congressmen, CEOs, and teenage virtuosos, to try to understand their emotional connection to their guitars.

Thanks to my Momma for this info ♥

Oregon Music News: Fasten Your Seatbelts, Heart’s “Red Velvet Car” is Revving Its Way Up the Charts

For over three decades, sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson have charted the course for Seattle-based, hard-rock band, Heart. In their first new album since 2004, Red Velvet Car is said to be their most personal and powerful work to date, returning to their hard rock roots with a largely acoustic-based sound. See them perform with Night Ranger this Friday, September 24th at the Sleep Country Amphitheater.

Arena rock legends, Ann and Nancy Wilson, were among the first female musicians taken seriously in a man’s world for their songwriting and instrument playing abilities when Heart debuted Dreamboat Annie in 1976. They were pioneers, creating a musical space where gender was not a part of the equation in performing heavy rock.

With most women in music performing folk, disco or singer/songwriter styles in the 70s and 80s, there were few women musicians to look up to as role models in the rock world. Since “no one told them they weren’t supposed to,” they looked to Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, and The Beatles for inspiration and found success as professional musicians. They were considered serious rockers with Ann having one of the most distinctive and masterful voices with a remarkable three octave range, and Nancy having real chops and becoming one of the first women to grace Guitar Player Magazine in December, 1979.

Die-hard Beatles fans, “We didn’t want to be the girlfriends of The Beatles, we wanted to BE the Beatles,” shared Nancy at a recent Grammy Museum Live event speaking about their influences and the revolution they believe is still underway for women in the rock world to be seen as equals to their male counterparts.

Considered one of the top 100 hard rock of artists of all time and having sold over 30 million records, their arena rock hits include “Magic Man,” “Crazy On You,” “Barracuda,”  ”Dog and Butterfly,” and power ballads “What About Love,” “These Dreams,” and “Alone,” to name a few.

Throughout their career, Heart maintained creative control over the music they released, with the exception of the 80’s.  Pressured by label management to perform more commercially accessible songs and blend in with the sounds and styles of the time, Heart succumbed to the pressure of MTV’s halcyon days.  While the band experienced a commercial breakthrough in 1985 with the album Heart selling 5 million copies, for a band used to having their own voice, the success was somewhat hollow given they were performing songs written by other people.

“We were definitely making a devil’s bargain in the Eighties, and looking back I’m glad we did because it did allow us to transit over a period when we could have fallen into a black hole,” Ann Wilson explains on the band’s website. “But we wouldn’t want to go back there and make any more music we don’t feel totally connected to. And now with this album, we feel like we have something very solid to stand on.”

Heart is among the rock legend elite to have a career successfully spanning three decades and still be releasing new material.  Their latest album, Red Velvet Car, is the first since 2004’s Jupiter’s Darling.  Entering Billboard’s 200 Best Selling album charts at #10 on August 31st, this marks their seventh appearance in the Top 10 and the album is receiving high marks from die-hard fans (known as Heart Mongers), as well as music critics across the country who feel the band have found their way back to their roots.

The songs on Heart’s 13th studio album came about organically, “starting with a groove and easy to write,” inspired by the world around them and personal experiences.  The acoustic arrangements highlight a wide variety of strings that include guitar, mandolin, dobro, banjo, fiddle, viola, cello and autoharp; all played by Nancy Wilson and the album’s producer, multiple Grammy nominee and long-time k.d. lang collaborator, Ben Mink.

WTF: “It started like a jam, like that song by Cream “SWLABR.” Later when I wrote the words, they were really angry and they just blasted out of me, like I might have just as well said, “What the fuck?” (ANN) Craig had that amazing guitar part, and then Ann came in with this scream of lyrics. I thought maybe the song was about someone else, but then the other day Ann mentioned it’s kind of the way you talk to yourself. Basically, it’s intense, and to me it’s about making mistakes and how hard it is to stay human.” – (NANCY) Ann refers to WTF as “Son of Barracuda.”

RED VELVET CAR: “When I first said those words, I knew it right away that it was a phrase worth using in a song. Sue Ennis – our friend and our co-writer from way back – was in town and really needed a rescue from the Hollywood hotel where she was attending a seminar. I said, “Are you kidding me? I’d come get you in a red velvet car. I wrote it down immediately. Ann took that title and ran it. – (NANCY) Nancy is like Ringo in that sense. She’s always been great at coming up with cool turns of phrase that don’t really need to be explained because they communicate something powerfully. Musically, I’ve got to give it to Ben Mink, because I wanted the song to have that R&B sensuality to it, but also something fresh, and I think together, we got it.” – (ANN)

The album’s closer, “Sand,” is a newly recorded version of a song originally written and recorded by the Lovemongers, Ann and Nancy’s 1990′s acoustic side project.

Other side projects for the sisters have included solo efforts, a recording studio in the 90’s called Bad Animals and movie scores. Nancy has played a role composing music for most of husband Cameron Crowe’s films including Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky, and Elizabethtown. In addition, both have made the time to make family a priority and raise children.


The Weekender: Heart Retains Classic Energy

Thirty-four years after Heart burst onto the scene with the multi-platinum “Dreamboat Annie” and forever changed the landscape for women in rock, it would be easy to count them out as over-the-hill and irrelevant. But the Wilson sisters still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

“Red Velvet Car” is the band’s first new material since 2004’s “Jupiter’s Darling.” Having built a career on creating a fusion of folky acoustics and Led Zeppelin’s hard rock dynamics, Heart enters 2010 as energetic as ever and successfully follows the same path. The band still plays both ends of the musical spectrum right out of the gate, but it never loses sight of its strengths.

The CD opens with the acoustic-based “There You Go” before ripping into “WTF,” a song with a killer riff that harkens back to the ass-kicking guitar sound of “Barracuda” and “Crazy On You.” The acoustic songs such as the title track and the bouncy “Hey You” (with vocals by Nancy Wilson) sound both intimate and intricate, aided by the detailed production of Canada’s Ben Mink. Flipping over to the hard rock side of the coin, “Wheels” and “Death Valley” place the electric guitar front and center, right where it belongs on any great Heart recording.

Ann Wilson still hits every note every time. Her performance is spot-on for the mandolin-tinged “Safronia’s Mark,” proving that recently turning 60 hasn’t drained one ounce of power out of her vocal chords. The closing track, “Sand,” was originally released on the Wilson sisters’ Lovemongers project in 1997 but gets a fresh take and ends “Red Velvet Car” on an upbeat note without sounding sappy or maudlin.

Most of the band’s fans would never have bet on “Red Velvet Car,” Heart’s 13th studio album, to sound both diverse and dynamic, but it’s as strong as anything in the band’s catalog. Luckily, the band has matured past the ’80s bombast phase that alienated many of the original fans by drifting too far into overproduced pop territory. Perhaps this is the album that should have come out between “Dog & Butterfly” and “Little Queen.” Heart is a band that doesn’t just sound like it’s looking in the rearview mirror. After 34 years, the band still has something to say.

Rating: W W W W


Goldmine Magazine: Heart Hits Trademark Sound With 'Red Velvet Car'

4-Star Rating :D

Heart’s first album since 2004’s “Jupiter’s Darling” gets off to a bluesy start with “There You Go,” but soon kicks into high gear with towering vocals of “WTF,” meaning the record mixes it up between Heart’s trademark acoustic sound and good old-fashioned rocking out.

Now, there might not be enough of latter for those of you who prefer Heart in “Crazy On You” mode. “Safronia’s Mark” is the best at capturing the old fire, starting out slow, but steadily building in intensity, and “Wheels” and “Death Valley” are both upbeat, the latter featuring an especially strong vocal workout (and both Ann and Nancy Wilson are in fine vocal form throughout the album).

The rest of the album is in a more laid-back vein. Producer Ben Mink (who also performs on the album), highlights the musical skills on display as fully as the voices, emphasizing the point that Heart was always a band, not some singers with a backing group. “Queen City” drags a bit, and is least interesting lyrically, and at 10 songs the album feels short. But the smoldering “Red Velvet Car,” the pretty acoustics of “Hey You,” and the poignant, heartbreaking “Sand” (a re-recorded version of a song by the Wilsons “alter-ego” band, the Lovemongers), should make Heart fans happy that the band’s finally has new material on offer.


Monday, September 20, 2010 Review: Heart in Universal City 9/18

Saturday night. Los Angeles. What to do?

Luckily this was one weekend evening I had mapped out already, as I had made plans to see Heart at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, Calif., months in advance.

Heart hit the stage just past 9:30 p.m., entering to the tribal beats of "Cook With Fire," the lead track to 1978's classic Dog & Butterfly that cautions men not to dance too close to a deceptive female's flame. "She's going to burn ya/She's gonna make you a fool/But it'll learn ya/Way, way better than school," sang Ann Wilson. (In a rare moment of concert clarity, I thought, "Too bad they didn't teach that in school.")

The '80s made a grand entrance in the presence of "What About Love?" — the lead single from Heart's 1985 quintuple-platinum, self-titled album. Added back to their set this year, the song still resonates as it did a quarter century ago.

Sister Nancy Wilson made her first splash of the evening in laying down some funky riffing on her aqua-blue-swirled Fender Telecaster. Guitarist Craig Bartok joined the fun and off the band catapulted into the pointed "Straight On." The Wilsons' patented crystal-clear harmonies shone through on this hit, also from Dog & Butterfly.

Nancy, an overlooked lead singer in her own right (par for the course when your sister is Ann Wilson), took the mic for two songs. First up was Heart's first-ever No. 1 single, "These Dreams." Saddled with her trusty mandolin, Nancy introduced the song as the "spare a little candle version" in describing the intimacy of the rendition to come. Indeed, the song features a more stripped-down, mature treatment nowadays, while still maintaining a meditative quality.

Segueing into the brand-new "Hey You" — a romantic poem set to song perfect for any longstanding couple weathering the proverbial storm of love — Nancy displayed her musicality in playing autoharp.

The evening's sonic experiment came via a garage band-worthy mash-up of the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" with "Even It Up" from 1980's Bebe Le Strange album. I like to think Mick and Keith would have approved.

The understated title track for Heart's new album, Red Velvet Car, followed. Ann described the song as "a soul rescue vehicle. It's about that friend you call in the middle of the night when you're stuck." An anthem of friendship and loyalty, the performance was hypnotic, and augmented by red lighting.

The monumental ballad "Alone" played out like a solemn prayer. Ann's vocals were complemented sparingly by Nancy on acoustic guitar and the pig-tailed Debbie Shair playing a harpsichord-type keyboard patch. Usually a high point at any Heart concert, tonight's rendition was particularly mesmerizing as Ann evoked the character of the song's protagonist like an Oscar-winning actress.

Picking the pace back up, the band ripped into "WTF," another new song from Red Velvet Car. With a driving groove — convincingly led by drummer Ben Smith and bassist Kristian Attard — and a sea of acoustic guitar strumming by Nancy, lyrically the song centers around a theme of self-examination with Ann warning: "The hardest thing you'll ever learn is what bridge to cross and what bridge to burn."

With her cascading strawberry-blonde hair, the timelessly beautiful Nancy Wilson moved across the stage with a combination of agility, grace and fervor for the entire evening. Her tour de force was her acoustic guitar solo preceding "Crazy On You," which featured an extended treatment with an excerpt of the main riff of "Hijinx" (a Heart diehard-only catch), a little bit of blues and a few bars of Led Zeppelin's "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You."

"Crazy On You," along with "Magic Man" before and "Barracuda" following, received arguably the best reactions from the L.A. crowd. A well-placed trio of veritable rock classics.

What does a band like Heart do for an encore? They read a few pages from the classic rock songbook. On "What Is And Never Should Be" from Led Zeppelin II, Ann matched Robert Plant's every nuance while Bartok played the song's memorable slide guitar solo, doing his best to evoke Jimmy Page.

The evening came to an end via the Who's dense "Love Reign O'er Me," an uplifting finale. As the last echoes reverberated, the band exited the stage to thundering applause.

With a band such as Heart having a vast catalog of music, there are always going to be songs you wish were played. (As a matter of fact, no songs were played from my favorite Heart album, 1990's Brigade.) But I found the 90-minute set well balanced and paced perfectly. As for the songs from Red Velvet Car, they fit together comfortably amid the band's classics.

True to the band's duality, the concert was ripe with dynamics. It was hot and cold; aggressive yet subtle; loud and quiet; powerful and delicate; and introspective yet communal. But most of all, it was full of heart.

Set List
"Cook With Fire"
"What About Love"
"Straight On"
"Dog & Butterfly"
"These Dreams"
"Hey You"
"Gimme Shelter"/"Even It Up"
"Red Velvet Car"
"In the Cool"
"Magic Man"
"Crazy On You"
"What Is and What Should Never Be"
"Love Reign O'er Me"


LA Weekly: Heart at the Gibson Amphitheater

On Wikipedia, the band Heart pops up in search results before the blood-pumping organ does. From the ecstatic beer and arm swaying rapture rattling the Gibson Amphitheater Saturday night, it's possible that over the last 35 years, Ann and Nancy Wilson have become more popular than the most precious human muscle. At least for people in their 40s and FM radio junkies.

Though Heart continues its legacy in the hands of 13 year old boys playing Guitar Hero, this was mom and dad's night out and the kids could stay at home raiding the liquor cabinet. This was a night for power ballads, for high kicks, for rape and murder (in a Rolling Stones cover), and a chance to get to know Meatloaf's daughter Pearl, who opened the show.

When Ann Wilson emerged from darkness carrying a flute, three-quarters of the room forgot how to breathe. She said, "Nothing left to do but open each other up and let our soul sing out. Ok? Ok!" and led us through Heart's discography without missing a hit. There was a time in Heart's career when cameras were all on Nancy, but at this show Ann was center-stage and in focus the whole time, with Nancy preferring to loom in the shadows, hopping and high-kicking. The only time Nancy seized all attention was in the inimitable intro to "Crazy On You." Many of us played along as if a black plastic guitar materialized before us, counting red, yellow, red, blue, red-yellow, blue, red-yellow, green+whammy...

"Alone," "These Dreams," and "What About Love?" brought back the glorious '80s, when the power ballad found its most enduring form. Heart also offered some new songs, such as "Red Velvet Car," which may sound like a euphemism for genitals but actually refers to the person you call when you're super drunk to pick you up.

The highlight of the night belonged to the 1970s, in a back-to-back "Magic Man, "Crazy On You," and "Barracuda" triple slam as well as a badass Led Zeppelin cover during the encore. There was a moment during "Crazy On You" during one those amazingly high notes when Ann reached down and scratched her wrist. She held the attention of thousands transfixed by her voice (which is sounding tip-top), and could still just scratch her wrist like she was waiting in line at the supermarket. It reminds us that humans are capable of wondrous things and still remain human.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Conversation with Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson

GREAT interview with Ann and Nancy! Really intelligent questions and just a really enjoyable read. Also looks the Night at Sky Church DVD is set for a Spring release! :)

Ever since their groundbreaking 1976 album Dreamboat Annie debuted, the band Heart--essentially, sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson--have recorded some of the most memorable rockers and ballads to date. Racking up hits like "Magic Man," "Crazy On You," "Barracuda," "Heartless," "Dog and Butterfly," "What About Love," "These Dreams," and many more, Heart has contributed more than a band's fair share to the story of rock. Their latest album, Red Velvet Car--featuring future classics such as "Wheels," "WTF," "Queen City," and the title track--is one of Heart's best releases, and another solid addition to their amazing catalog and legacy.

A Conversation with Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson

Mike Ragogna: Can you catch us up on your new album, Red Velvet Car?

Nancy Wilson: Well, Red Velvet Car, our new album, just came out at the end of August, and we heard Friday that it was going up on the Billboard charts, so we're really happy. We worked for a couple of years writing songs between the touring and getting other musical stuff together. But working with Ben Mink, our producer on this, was just what the doctor ordered, and people are responding so well. After being around for a while and doing this, our thirteenth studio album, we're really happy to report that it's debuting stronger than any of our other albums ever did.

MR: When you were writing for this record, I guess you overwrote and you still have a few extra songs?

Ann Wilson: Yes, I think we had about sixteen songs, and there are ten on the album.

MR: You guys are so prolific, and you're very good at having an album at least every couple of years. You also have Lovemongers material and all sorts of stuff. How do you keep a balance between all of your projects?

AW: Well, one project helps you evolve into the next. I think that you write some songs, and then you move on when you have things that happen in your life. I think all the songs on Red Velvet Car are autobiographical, and all the songs have come from things that have happened in our lives because we always write from our lives. But this time more than ever, it's just amazing to see these things actually speak.

NW: Yeah.

MR: What's the story behind the title track, "Red Velvet Car"?

NW: "Red Velvet Car" is a story about unconditional love and trust between two people. That can be between me and my sister, Ann, here, or it can be more of a universal statement about something very personal, where you're talking about some people that would do that for each other. There's a wide, wide world of people who would not go rescue anyone, no matter how bad they were. It's more of a statement of what love is about, and the honor, love, and trust that you will give somebody, and a rescue that you will give to someone because you love them no matter how ridiculous it might be, how bad it might get, or how far it is to go.

MR: Now, I have some favorite tracks on this album, and I know you're not supposed to ask an artist to pick a favorite among their children, so to speak, but if I were to ask you which of your songs on this new album you would like to hear right now, what would it be?

NW: Well, I like "There You Go." I think "There You Go" really hits home, and it's a cautionary, finger-shaking tale written to a young girl like a Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, or a Snookie, if you will. But it's just saying, "Hey, look out kid. Don't be a fool. It's a jungle out there." That's why it's done in this really swampy style. That song, by the way, was recorded with all the musicians sitting in one room, with all the strings ringing together sympathetically, and there are no real electric instruments on there, they're all wooden.

MR: Nice. You've done a lot, even going back to your first album, with acoustic instruments. People think of you as a good, rocking act, but you're such great acoustic artists, too.

NW: Thank you. That's one thing we've always done, as well as big rock songs--they could rock acoustically. You don't hear acoustic guitar used as a big, fat, rock guitar as much as you do with Heart, usually. I play an aggressive acoustic, as well as a sensitive acoustic guitar, and "There You Go" is a really great example of a big, heavy rock sound with acoustic instruments.

MR: This new album rocks, and it rocks in many different ways. It rocks electrically, and it rocks acoustically. While we were setting up this interview I said, "By the way, we're a solar powered radio station," since it also will broadcast. What do you think of solar power?

AW: We're trying to get off the grid, for sure. This summer, when we're touring, every time the tour bus pulls in to fuel up, I kind of grind my teeth because we have a multitude of buses, and every time they have to fill up, it's a tooth grinder.

NW: At home, we do the smallest carbon footprint possible, and we have hybrid cars. We really try to reuse everything, throw everything in the right bin, and we don't use plastic bottles because we have water filters at home and we use canteens. So, we're eco-friendly as much as we can get away with, but it would be awesome to be completely off the grid.

AW: We had some wind power and some solar power over at the farm in Seattle for a while, but we're still upgrading as technology allows.

MR: It's great to hear that we're talking with "Eco-friendly Heart."

NW: Well, we're sisters, and we're women, and we've had our ear to the ground, listening to Mother Earth for a long time as songwriters, and what Mother Earth is going through right now is pretty drastic, and we're feeling it too. We need the playground of Mother Earth and the bosom of Mother Earth to still be around for our kids, and the kids of our kids, as beautifully as she was there for us. So, we must be the custodians, harder than ever.

MR: That's really beautifully said.

NW: That's our mother! There's a lot of disrespect to our mother going on.

MR: There really is. So, let's talk about another one of the songs on this album, which comes to mind?

AW: I'd say "WTF," you know?

MR: Okay, "WTF" it is.

AW: The song is probably the son of "Barracuda," not on purpose necessarily, but this song came out of a blast of feeling that happened from looking in the mirror after making a series of repetitive, stupid mistakes.

MR: Like everyone, I guess.

AW: Like everyone, and expecting a different result, but not getting it, and finally just looking and saying, "What...!!" There is a lot of anger in the song, and frustration, but also a very clear message of hope to it because you're talking to yourself.

MR: That's wonderful, and no one does hope and anger better than Heart.

AW & NW: (laugh)

MR: Let's go to the news. Anything interesting on your radar?

AW: Yeah. All of a sudden, there's a country song that says I don't know the difference between Iraq and Iran. Did you hear that last night on CNN?

NW: No, really?

AW: That's igno-licious. And all of a sudden, we're in Afghanistan because, suddenly, that's what it's all about. There are a whole bunch of people that are going to have to have their post traumatic stress dealt with in some way, when they get home, yet we don't have the healthcare to cover that, really. What else do you want to talk about? It's a f**king pickle, is what it is.

MR: The interesting thing is that we have smart people that are in charge right now. Of course, everybody is on Obama's case for everything because he inherited the worst possible conditions, in every field, and we're kind of impatient with him getting things done. On the other hand, I can see the argument because things really aren't getting done as quickly as they need to be, in my opinion.

NW: When have they ever been able to get done as quickly as they need to be, though?

MR: You're right. Doesn't that go hand in hand with our ADD culture?

NW: Yeah, I think America is kind of the teenager of the world.

MR: That's pretty interesting. But have we regressed? We used to be adults, I thought.

AW: We thought we were.

NW: Well, people used to go to school, know how to spell and write papers, and were a little more educated, you know? On the world stage we're getting dumber, and dumber, compared to many of the more well-informed countries, and when people go like, "Iraq, Iran, what's the difference?" That's the case in point. We don't even know what the war is or who we're fighting and why, or why we didn't start in Afghanistan.

MR: And didn't we learn anything from Russia?

AW: That's a real storm front for me because I'm a real history buff, and it's just amazing to me how we've got this short little span of attention for huge things that have happened in the past, and it's just not possible now for anyone to remember these lessons from history.

MR: Ann, what is the deal, with the wars especially? The Afghanistan thing was in our face, that was such a humiliation to Russia, so that should have been one of the first obvious things to us. Of course, we went in there at first because of 9/11, but at the same time, every time we step into war in a major way, it's the corporations that are taking us to war, it seems to me. It's not even the brain trust that we elected into office, and it's like we're being dictated to by, well, the oil companies, and we had an oil administration, so, that made perfect sense.

AW: Yeah, and you can feel that even if you're just a plebe down here on the street and you watch the news. You can feel the fact that someone else is pulling the strings. You can feel that the strings are being pulled by people who are invisible to us.

MR: Yeah, it used to be the "shadow government," except they don't really care about being all that shadowy anymore, do they.

AW: (laughs) Right, I know. I don't blame people for feeling so powerless, but I'm from a generation that just goes, "Powerless, shmowerless. You have to still mouth off." You have to continue on.

NW: Try to understand and try to educate yourself enough to know what it is at least. I think the pop culture just takes us down the sheep dip, you know? It's like, "Okay, all you sheep, we're going to herd you over here into all this reality television." The "car crash" television--meaning the television that you just cannot look away from--I think it's really the dumbing of America. It replaces other information, where people could be preparing themselves to make a better world with less war, and just to know more--how to vote, how to help the administration, how to complain, and how to write their senators.

MR: Exactly, especially these days when you've got Fox News representing The Tea Party, and you've got Glenn Beck doing all of his nonsense.

NW: Yeah, there's so much polarization, it's just ridiculous. And the whole rapture thing? It's just like, "Wow."

MR: I was really shocked and saddened by the whole Qur'an burning thing. I didn't realize pockets of our country could be that stupid.

AW: And suddenly he just changed his mind. It was like, "Oh, some power must have been brought to bear on that guy."

MR: Yeah, or money.

AW: Or money. He was just selling his furniture on eBay, right, to finance his church? So, it's like, "Oh yeah, I'm ready to back off of my big thing, but I'm rich now, surprisingly."

MR: What a surprise.

NW: America just needs to educate.

AW: I agree.

MR: You're right on, and I just wish education was as high a priority as I remember it being. I'm with you, and I'm in the same age group, so I remember when that was an important thing.

AW: The way we become no longer a super power is if we're super stupid.

MR: Yeah. Okay, let's get back into the Red Velvet Car and be happy.

AW: It's okay, this is life, and we're all living it. It's great that we get to talk about it, you know?

MR: I know, and what was sweet was that you were sharing your thoughts so articulately, and you were so right on. I agreed with everything you said, and I wish this country well, but we really have to get our heads out of...

NW: ...out of our reality TV!

MR: Nice. Let's keep this rolling by telling me what track you'd like to discuss next.

NW: How about "Hey You?"

MR: What's the story behind that?

NW: "Hey You" is a song that I had rolling around in my brain for almost ten years, but I could not for the life of me come up with the "one more thing" it needed. I tried one thing that didn't work, then I'd try something else a couple of years later that wouldn't work, and over the years it just wasn't finished until we ran into Ben Mink and started working on this album. I pulled it out again and I said, "Do you have another part? This song needs a part." And he definitely had the perfect part.

MR: What's the working relationship like in the studio?

AW: What an amazing artist and a funny guy and extremely intelligent. He's intellectual, but also able to tell tall tales from his road, and his past. We were first turned onto his work when he was working with k.d. lang on the Ingenue album, and that really stuck with us. I think we tried to contact him in the '90s, but we couldn't get together because he was busy doing other stuff. Then, when I was going to do a solo album several years ago, it worked out that we could work together. Well, we brought Nancy in to work on my solo album, of course, and Nancy and Ben Mink just hit it off. It was like they were siblings, too. They are like total guitar and strings siblings, and to hear them play together is uncanny. It's almost like they're cut from the same (cloth), you know?

MR: So, he's sort of like an unofficial member at this point.

NW: Yes. In Red Velvet Car sessions, we played mostly just with Ben, myself, bass, and drums, and Ann singing, so those were all the basics. That's how we played everything at once, together, at the same time, and in the same room with eye contact. The conversation of that, you can really hear on the album because it's definitely not layered, digitally constructed stuff.

MR: That's pretty important these days, isn't it? I was just talking with the Goo Goo Dolls the other day, and John Rzeznik was discussing how important it was for that group to sit down in a room, and finally reconnect with each other during the recording process.

NW: How rare that stuff is these days.

AW: Yeah, I never thought I'd live to see the day when the natural process of musicians playing together would be something that you had to try to return to. That's the core, primal thing, really.

NW: You mean, actually playing and singing?

AW: (laughs) It's this new thing, actually singing and playing.

MR: Well, with Pro Tools and the like, you can pretty much just throw on a part and say, "There it is."

NW: You can pretty much construct things out of other things, right?

MR: Right, and you don't even need to be able to sing because we've got a pitch corrector for that.

AW: Oh boy, don't get me started.

MR: No, let's get you started.

AW: If I had money for every take I had to redo because I sang something off pitch, (laughs) I'd be rich.

MR: I'm with you, and if a pitch corrector was never invented, I don't think we'd have a Top Ten right now.

AW: And it's funny how that pitch correction thing has a digital thing that goes through it, kind of making people sound anonymous.

MR: Yes. It makes them generic, good point.

NW: It's really hard to distinguish a lot of the singers now.

MR: It's like a lot of the Disney-ish or American Idol-ish kids who are making records follow this template that have this same three note interval span in the chorus, and you have to include a sixth or a fourth in there so it has a tiny bit of emotion, or I guess that's what it's supposed to do.

NW: Interesting, yeah, you're right.

MR: Then you have, of course, the soulless block vocal that sounds like every other block vocal.

AW: It's interesting because it's also affected the sound or the way people sing without pitch correction. If you hear a lot of new singers, the vowels and the way they change notes almost sound pitch corrected already. So, it's become the new accent of pop music singing.

MR: Wow, people trying to emulate pitch correctors. So, being a fan since Day One, what's great is that you've always got stuff coming down the pike, like your new DVD.

NW: Yeah, there's a new DVD coming in the Spring of a Seattle show we did at The Sky Church, and that has a few of the new songs, and Ben Mink plays fiddle and guitar on that DVD as a guest star, and Alison Krauss comes out to sing a couple of songs with us as well. So, look for the DVD this spring.

MR: You know, this is a really interesting period for Alison Krauss. There's that album Robert Plant did with her.

NW: That album was amazing.

MR: I like the cross-pollination.

AW: I like it, too. It's really great for us because a lot of the time people sort of put us in this box that's really small. It's like, "They do rock music." But we like lots of types of music, and Americana is no exception. Alison is squirming to get out of her box too, so when we met and sang together and became friends and everything, it was a really great stretch for all of us.

MR: Yeah, and with Robert Plant. I couldn't believe I was listening to that.

AW: He, of course, on that record, is singing so great, and some people are sort of like, "Well gee, he's supposed to sing like he did in Led Zeppelin, where he's up there real high, screaming and wailing." Well, he is more sexy, I think, when he croons, you know? If that's possible, for Robert Plant to be more sexy than Led Zeppelin? I really think, for instance, on the song "Nothin," on Raising Sand, he's just on. There are a couple of moments that are just so amazingly sexy, and they're great.

MR: Have you reached out to him because, you know, you do have a history there.

AW: Haven't reached out to him, but we did get to meet. We went to see the Alison Krauss-Robert Plant show at The Greek Theater a couple of years back, and we got to talk with him afterward and hang out a bit. We had a little talk, and it was a little bit stilted because Zeppelin has always been a man's things, and they heard that we cover their stuff. So, the two of us kind of went, "Oh, hello." It was so amazing for me to try and forget that he is so amazingly powerful in his presence and just talk to him like a human being. It was a great moment for me.

MR: Right. I feel like what you said earlier is so true about perceptions; people don't allow artists to grow in a lot of cases. Regarding the Robert Plant thing, none of us should really be surprised by that, just as Heart doing really beautiful acoustic music should not be a surprise. You get to grow in your art, the way you want to grow in it, and I think your fans, for the most part, have come along with you.

AW: They have, and it speaks well because that takes attention span, and Heart people really have it, they really do.

MR: I feel like there's so much that you've gone through over the years that you could probably write a book about life on the road, about music, and about the music industry, right?

AW & NW: (laugh)

NW: It would be like when people ask, "What do you say to people that are coming up?" What is it really? It is a business, even though you don't really want to think of it as a business. I think without some kind of true calling and dogged determination and survival mechanisms built in, you shouldn't even try. Turn back, unless you're really burning up with passion, desire, and a purpose to do this, you know? I think, like probably a lot of things in the world, to do something really well, especially something a little bit outside of the box, there just isn't a lot of context for it, and it can be the loneliest, most heartbreaking world you can try to do something in. Ann and I, I think, should consider ourselves really lucky because we have each other and we're sisters and confidants. But there are others--like Sarah McLachlan and Chrissie Hynde--who have sort of done it on their own, and I don't know how they do that. I don't know if I could do that. Anyway, becoming an upstart now, with the way the attention span is so short and the pitch correction aspect of music making people kind of anonymous, it narrows the field, and I think it might even be tougher than before.

AW: Yeah, I think it probably is.

NW: With the imaging of everything now, I'd just say that if you have a soulful, poetic ear for doing some music, go underground or go rock, and do all the work.

AW: Do the work. Don't expect one day to be in your bedroom with your hairbrush, looking at the mirror, and the next day be like Lady Gaga. That happens to, maybe, one millionth of one percent of all the people in the world. If you want to spend ten years in the pipeline, forming a musical soul and putting all the miles in, then maybe you're going to be unusual, and you might stay around a little bit.

MR: Very nice. I always ask artists the question, "What advice do you have for new artists," and you've already answered it perfectly.

NW: Becoming competent takes a little time, and that will give you enough time to figure out whether you're built for it, too.

MR: That's good advice because a lot of people go into it without realizing that they're in it for the long haul once they've committed.

NW: Yeah, for better and for worse.

MR: Seriously, the whole fantasy of the American Idol "win" is exactly that, and for people that are getting into this for their art, it's not going to matter. They're going to do exactly what you said.

NW: People always ask us, and it always really amazes me because we have some albums that have been "hits" and some that aren't. So, when we have one that isn't, people say, "Well, why do you make albums? Are you going to make any more albums?" The answer, of course is, "Yes," because that's what we do as functioning musicians. We don't live and die by our sales. And it's for the love of music and the way people come back to us and say, "Oh, you saved my life with your music." It's so meaningful to people when you can reach them and they can hear your music and you can share your music with them. It's completely meaningful.

MR: Do you have any information about your tour?

AW: Yeah, it's been going on now for several months, and it's going to be going on solidly until the end of September. Then, we'll be doing a few more dates through the end of the year. We'll take thirty seconds off for Christmas, and then, ten seconds later, we'll be back out on the road.

MR: Are you doing any Rockin' New Years Eves?

AW: I guess not because I can see our manager shaking her head, so I guess not.

MR: I'll share just one tiny story with you. When I moved on from one of my jobs, I was packing my office and played "Strong, Strong Wind" like it was a loop. That was my "time to move on" song.

AW & NW: Oh, yeah.

MR: That particular Heart recording was very touching to me, so I'll just throw that out there.

NW: That's what music does to people, and that's how it orchestrates our lives and protects us through our lives, as well. The songs that we take with us are our protectors.


Photos and Videos from the Gibson Amp Show!

Pro shot photos (if unwatermarked versions become available I will post them! :D)

Fan photo and videos.

HD Alone and Crazy On You, with an incredible intro and decent footage of the kick! And Magic Man :D

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Heart Playing Gibson Amphitheater in LA

Gibson Amp show is getting a lot of love on Twitter!!!

Pearl and Scott Ian (show opener):

@Scott_Ian: Heading over to Gibson Amphitheater now for PEARL/HEART show.

@PearlAday: En route to sound check for our gig w @officialheart 2nite in L.A. Here we go!

 @PearlAday: Just took a dorky fan girl pic bckstage w a Nancy Wilson road case. Oh boy, let the radness begin!

@PearlAday: Song of the moment: "Barracuda" (because @officialheart is soundchecking it live rt now!)

@Scott_Ian: Nancy Wilson singing These Dreams. It's so good I'm fucking dying.

@Scott_Ian: Sold out Gibson Amphitheater. Packed when we went on. Killer hometown show. Thank you Heart and thank you Los Angeles!!!

@Scott_Ian: Ann singing Gimme Shelter. Fucking insane.

@Scott_Ian: Fuck me. Heart doing What Is And What Should Never Be. All time. The copious hair on my arms is standing up.

@Scott_Ian: And now Love Reign O'er Me. Ann Wilson should sing every song. I can't speak.

Fan tweets:

@ValkyrieBlue: Hanging out at Universal Citywalk waiting for the Heart concert! Can't wait to see my girls!

@Tabithaberry: Got generous offer to see Heart in concert at Universal City tonight. Very excited!

@Pochita68: Heart <3 @ Gibson Amphitheatre tonight! See u there.

@pdhamilton: Just scored awesome seats for Heart at Gibson Amphitheater for tonight's show!

@RealSteveGaines: Heart concert tonight at Universal City, the Gibson. Sitting in row A behind the pit. Very happy!

@Kaore: tonight I will be basking in the glory of @officialheart

@ashleighmusic: going to see Heart at Gibson right now...ohhhh Barracuda!

@flowerbelle_: At the Gibson waiting for Heart to come on stage! I can't wait to see them!

@anthonyguerrero: Heading to the Gibson to see Heart tonight!

@kanamalia: Getting ready for the Heart concert tonight at the Gibson.

@itsmetara: Heart baby!!! (@ Gibson Amphitheater w/ 5 others)

@Lbcalgal: Rockin' the Gibson with my girl Yoli @ Heart!!

@PyroKid: At the Gibson Amphitheater in Hollywood... HEART just took the stage!

@CaliCG: Enjoying Heart at the Gibson w/@divadol :) What about love...

@nessa_guerrero: Heart is working it out at the Gibson!!

@MissMelisaMae: Jesus Harold Christ...Ann Wilson can sing! Barracuda BAY-BEEE

@anthonyguerrero: Heart just played Barracuda. And it was one of the heaviest songs I've ever heard live. YES!!!

@beachbum4osu: if there is a God, and if that God has the voice of a female, it is the voice of Ann Wilson!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Heart on NPR's World Cafe

Led by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, Heart is widely regarded as one of the great rock bands of all time. Now, after a six-year break and 34 years since its debut, the group is primed to make a return to the limelight with the new album, Red Velvet Car.

Heart cut its first LP, Dreamboat Annie, in 1976 and quickly became one of the biggest bands on the planet. It went on to sell more than 1 million copies with two hit singles, "Magic Man" (No. 9 on the 1976 Billboard charts) and "Crazy on You" (No. 35 on the 1976 Billboard charts).

Riding the momentum, Heart released its second album just one year later, 1977's Little Queen, and that, too, sold 1 million copies, fueled by arguably its biggest hit, "Barracuda." The Wilson sisters were bona fide rock stars, appearing on the cover of the July 1977 issue of Rolling Stone and becoming the subjects of countless boyhood crushes. In 1978, Heart went on to release two more platinum albums in Magazine and Dog and Butterfly, and despite the absence of founding member Roger Fisher, the group released its highest charting album in 1980, Bebe Le Strange.

Listen to the sisters' interview with World Cafe host David Dye and hear the band rock out on the World Cafe Live stage.

A little extra info for those interested. Judging by tour dates and Ann saying they had just played 3 shows in a row, this seems to have been taped on the 6th at the WXPN Stage in Philadelphia, PA. :)

And here we are. Full performances, interview and web bonuses split up track by track.

Interview Part 1:

Dog & Butterfly:

Hey You:


Interview Part 2:


Red Velvet Car:

Ann Interview with 96.9 WGRF-FM Buffalo

Ann speaking to JP from 97Rock in Buffalo the day after the release of RVC! Great interview :D

Heart Has Plenty Of It As Sisters Approach 60

My absolute favourite review. This was just breathtaking to read. Enjoy :)

Not only does Heart even it up; they kick it out on their introspective, lifetime-in-the-making, spanking new disc, “Red Velvet Car.”

Seattle's rock chick siblings (Ann and Nancy Wilson, 60 and 56, respectively) prove they are still better rock 'n' roll role models than most pop stars half their age. Not only do they have longevity (selling more than 30 albums and scoring 21 Top 40 hits in a career that spans 34 years), they have integrity to boot.

In the mid-'70s, Heart built a reputation as the premier, hard-driving, rock 'n' roll band fronted by two strong-willed pagan goddesses. In the mid-'80s, the sisters became teased-hair, corset-wearing video vixens and mega-selling, pop-rock hit makers. And, for a while in the '90s, the Wilsons established themselves as the female equivalent of Bon Jovi. Who said rock 'n' roll wasn't an equal-opportunity business. Heart's 13th studio release, “Red Velvet Car” is a return to the sisters' breakthrough 1976 release, “Dreamboat Annie,” without being a maudlin or half-hearted affair.

Sounding like they're performing around a bubbling cauldron, the two bewitching sisters prove they still have plenty of mojo on the foreboding opener, “There You Go.” As elder stateswomen who have seen it all, they offer worldly wisdom for young up-and-comers whose lives are on the fast track and (whether they know it or not) spinning out of control. Ann Wilson weaves together this cautionary tale of tawdry success and toxic excesses with her smoky, alluring voice, while kid sister Nancy delivers earthy and organic acoustic guitar riffs and enchanting harmonies.

The powerhouse duo shows why Heart was always the closest thing to a female equivalent of Led Zeppelin on the confident, cocksure rocker, “WTF.” With her howling, Robert Plant-like vocals, Ann surmises, “The hardest thing you'll ever learn is what bridge to cross and what bridge to burn.” So when in doubt, burn everything to the ground. Ann Wilson is mesmerizing as the emasculating marauder while ax-wielding sister Nancy shifts from serious Jimmy Page-inspired blue riffage to Pete Townshend power chord crunch. Although this adrenaline-pumping offering is all too brief, it single-handedly flattens any misgivings left over from Heart's cheesy '80s past (even though Heart at their cheesiest still runs circles around most of today's prefabrication pop divas at their best).

Ann Wilson is a combination chauffeur, savior and survivor on the bluesy, acoustic-tinged title track, “Red Velvet Car.” Tender but tough as nails, Ann passionately cries with the power and conviction to wipe away all the tears and years of misery and self-doubt. Never have the words, “I'm coming for you/I'm coming for you/I'm coming for you” sounded so reassuring and welcome as they do here. In the end, “Red Velvet Car” is a combination of holy apparition and a godsend of a number.

From Jimi Hendrix to grunge (with Heart prominently falling somewhere in between), Ann and Nancy Wilson are both very familiar with the rich musical legacy of their native Seattle (and, if they weren't, I'm sure Nancy's hubby, Cameron Crowe would fill them in if he had to). With the fiery, psychedelic rocker “Queen City,” the Wilsons take the listener on a whirlwind tour of the Seattle of their restless rock 'n' roll youth, concluding that there's something in the air that entices fellow Seattleians to become rock stars. Nancy Wilson shines as the passionate, poetic and poignant paramour smitten by the intoxicated effects of love and, later, reeling from the lingering aftereffects of love lost on the '60s-inspired folk-rocker, “Hey You.” At first, a guitar chiming Nancy Wilson is deliciously sweet and spacey declaring, “Swear by my September stars/I will go where you are going/Forever's never very far/As my love is overflowing.” Then, when the romance turns sour, she snaps, “Did you tangle with the trees/Did it bring you to your knees/Have you had enough of me/Hey you.” In addition to being emotionally rich and satisfying, it's one of the album's true highlights.

Ann and Nancy Wilson burn some rubber and leave the neon lights and the shiny people in the dust on the wanderlust opus, “Wheels.” Accompanied by revved-up guitar chords, locomotive bass lines and rumbling drum beats, Ann advises, “Just close your eyes now/And breathe a sigh now/We're going out of here/Out of here/Riding the wheels.” You can practically smell the petrol fumes on this high-octane rocker.

With its twangy acoustic guitars and impassioned vocals, “Safronia's Mark” has all the makings of being a “Dreamboat Annie” for the new millennium. Ann Wilson delivers a richly told story about heartbreak and human frailty as evident in the lines, “Though her eyes are far away she looks at you/Through her windows darkly she don't see/Her face is like a door you wanna walk on through/'Cause something deep inside just might belong to you.”

“Sunflower,” a song Nancy Wilson wrote about her sister and gave her as a birthday gift, is a deeply delicate and loving ode from someone who obviously has a deep connection with the subject-matter. Nancy's sensual, earth-mother musings and dreamy delivery give Sheryl Crow a run for the neo-hippie troubadour title.

Originally done on the Wilson sisters' acoustic-based offshoot project “The Lovemongers” back in 1990, “Sand” certainly deserves another shot to be heard and discovered. Ann Wilson sings, “A trick of light upon our eyes/A trick of time upon our lives/Ancient songs cry out to you/Surely this sweet sand is slipping through.”

Alas, life is fleeting but the hope that this is not the last we hear of Heart springs eternal.