Friday, December 3, 2010

VH1 Divas Salute The Troops

Ann and Nancy will be appearing as special guests on VH1 Divas Salute The Troops, performing alongside Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, on Sunday December 5th :)

The show’s format calls for each "diva" to perform a few of their best-known songs, along with a classic or two by another artist. In the case of the roots-rocking New England band Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, that means teaming up with Heart co-founders Ann and Nancy Wilson. Ann Wilson was born in San Diego, and both sisters spent part of their youth at Camp Pendleton, where their father was stationed.

“Ann and Nancy opened the door in rock for women to look beautiful and be so talented,” said Potter, 27, who is arguably the least known but most talented singer on the “Divas” bill.

The USO Presents “VH1 Divas Salute the Troops”

With: Katy Perry, Sugarland, Nicki Minaj, Keri Hilson, Paramore and Grace Potter & The Nocturnals; hosted by Kathy Griffin

When: 9 p.m. Sunday December 5th 2010

Where: VH1


Rock Delight: Red Velvet Car Review

Here’s the deal, because there are two major periods for the band Heart is one of those bands with a dividing fan-base. Therefore depending on which period of the band you prefer you will either like this album or you will not like this album. With 2004′s Jupiter’s Darling album the Wilson sisters made a conscious decision to go back to their 70′s acoustic driven Zeppelin influenced rock. While I thought Jupiter’s Darling was a mixed bag, I am happy to say that Ann and Nancy were much more successful with Red Velvet Car and that is for the most part due to the fact that the songs are just better.

Album Highlights:

1. There You Go - The opening track , a mellow acoustic track. A good song but not one that I would use to open up the album with.

2. WTF- the second track and would have been a much better song to open up the album with, a hard rocker with a 70′s rock vibe.

3. Hey You- The first single from the album and another mellow acoustic track

4. Wheels- My personal favorite from the album a great rocker and Ann sings the hell out of it. She sounds like she’s 20 years old again.

5. Safronia’s Mark- A mid tempo acoustic Zeppelin influenced rocker.

All in the all “Red Velvet Car” is a good album and Ann’s voice is just as amazing as it was 30 years ago. The only problem I have with the album is that it is a bit mellow. I would have liked a couple more rockers, but it definitely has direction.

Grade- 80


Pop Matters: Red Velvet Car Review

When I was in the sixth grade, I was friends with a guy who had an older sister who wore a lot of denim and smelled like stale cigarette smoke and whiskey. She had a mirror on her wall, likely won at a county fair, emblazoned with the Heart logo. That’s how Heart is for a lot of people, even those who saw them settle into AOR balladry in the ‘80s. But lest we forget, “Barracuda” was no fluke: the Wilson sisters rocked!

Red Velvet Car showcases both of those extremes and is likely exactly what longtime fans like my old friend’s sister were hoping to hear.

It’s always a little awkward when grown-ups use Internet acronyms, and in the case of Heart’s “WTF”, it feels doubly so. Thankfully, the album’s most thoroughly ramshackle rocker only uses the shtick in its title, settling instead on a more philosophical bent: “What bridge to cross and what bridge to burn?” The album is filled with lyrics like that, the kinds of questions posited while drunk or high in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere. And if anyone else pulled that shit in 2010, you’d laugh your ass off. But with Heart, it works. Seriously. Because what Ann and Nancy Wilson know that all the Arcade Fires and Radioheads of the world don’t seem to understand is that sometimes feelings don’t have to be conveyed any deeper than a can of Schlitz.

Red Velvet Car is an album that feels like it doesn’t know it’s the 21st century or that the record industry is in the toilet. The lyrics are earnestly corny, the guitars—even the acoustic ones—layered and LOUD. “Wheels” is the most “Barracuda”-esque of the bunch, with soaring vocals and a crunchy riff. “Safronia’s Mark” picks up the scent of Led Zeppelin’s mysticism and I have no idea what it’s about or where the “winding alleyways of Sodo” even are, but goddamn if it doesn’t sound like it should be played driving too fast with the windows rolled all the way down. If someone told you this was secretly recorded between Little Queen and Magazine, it’s only lyrics like “I texted you in desperation” (from the otherwise timeless “Death Valley”) that would give the game away.

Red Velvet Car is unapologetically huge in every conceivable way, and that’s exactly what it should be. Heart are crafty veterans in the rock & roll game, but there’s much more honesty here than you’ll find in current releases by many of their contemporaries. Red Velvet Car is exactly what Heart has always been about, through their varied heydays and into the present. This is music meant to be played in arenas, but still give the listener that same feeling of intimacy they felt when they hung their first country fair mirror on their suburban bedroom wall.


Innocent Words: Red Velvet Car Review

It’s hard to fathom that some would call Heart’s latest release Red Velvet Car a “comeback album.” Sure it’s been six years since their last studio release Jupiter’s Darling, but a comeback album? Hardly. I mean come on, Heart has sold over 30 million records, had 21 Top 40 hits, sold out arenas worldwide, and had an influence on rock music since the 1970s – what would they be coming back from?

Red Velvet Car is a pretty low-key album with acoustic guitars at the foundation. Opening with the bluesy “There You Go” then heading into the epic single “WTF” the album has a stout start. “Hey You” is a bouncy summer jam and the straight-forward rocker “Wheels” is the best one-two combination of the ten songs. Nancy Wilson takes the lead vocals for the sexy “Sunflower” and for diehard Heart fans the Wilson sisters revamp “Sand” from their 1990s side project The Lovemongers.

With Red Velvet Car we find Ann and Nancy Wilson mixing the past with the present. They have embraced their maturity and parlayed the highs and lows of the past few years of their lives into another powerful Heart record.


Classic Album: Little Queen

Following the success of their debut album, Dreamboat Annie, in 1976, Heart soon began to acclaim for their brand of Led Zeppelin-like rock fused with folk, resulting in the hit singles Crazy on You and Magic Man. Once again reuniting with producer Mike Flicker, sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson returned to the studio to record their sophomore album, Little Queen, the following year. Unlike the music that they would produce in the late 1980s and early 1990s (such as These Dreams, Alone and All I Wanna Do is Make Love to You), Heart’s output during the 1970s was ahead of its time and gave their male counterparts a run for their money. The opening track, Barracuda, is perhaps one of their most famous tunes and the one that usually attracts the Led Zeppelin comparisons; with its gritty guitar riff and Ann Wilson’s high-pitched vocals. Written as a reaction to a publicity stunt that the band’s label, Mushroom Records, had attempted by publishing an article in a magazine which featured a picture of the the duo with the caption, “Heart’s Wilson Sisters Confess: “It Was Only Our First Time!”

In a dramatic change of pace, the second track on the album is an excellent acoustic number and one of Heart’s most overlooked songs, Love Alive. The acoustic vibe continues with the instrumental Sylvan Song, which features a combination of Nancy Wilson’s guitar and Roger Fisher’s Mandolin, before leading into another track called Dream of the Archer. After the rocking Kick It Out and the ’70s funk of Little Queen, the album returns to the acoustic sound with the ballads Treat Me Well and Go On Cry, which fail to live up to the beauty of Love Alive but still demonstrate the range of the band. The closing number, Go On Cry, has a dreamlike quality that brings the album to a suitable conclusion. By the early 1980s all but the Wilson sisters had left the band and Heart would be reinvented as a power ballad group, never achieving the heights that they reached with their earlier work.


Give The Gift Of Music: Ann Wilson on "Sunflower"

Ann gives us a beautiful insight in to the love behind Nancy's song "Sunflower" :)

After all the years my sister Nancy and I have been writing songs together, I feel I know her creative impulse pretty well. When we were writing the songs for our last album “Jupiter’s Darling,” she came up with a beautiful, unfinished piece called “Hey You.” It was a very sweet, insightful piece that I flattered myself into hoping was about ME. The poetry contained things I wished we could say to each other on a friendship and sisterly level, and it thrilled me to think she was feeling those things about our long relationship that has seen so much over the years. She never finished the song then, unable to come up with the right ending. Six years later, when recording our “Red Velvet Car” album, she and producer Ben Mink were able to finish the song. Can you imagine my secret delight?! Finally, after all the years of me writing songs for and about other people, someone had written one for me. Then, Nancy mentioned in passing that “Hey You” had always been about her relationship with her then-husband. Well, before I could stop myself I blurted out, “Oh! I always kinda thought that song was about me.” We had a little laugh about it, but inside I was disappointed. Of course Nancy knows every move on my face, and my every tiny nuance of body language, so she got an idea how to make me feel better. In a matter of days she unveiled a lovely new song she’d written called “Sunflower.” The poetry in this song describes a strong, beautiful, vibrant sunflower, “standing shameless in the air.” She had written it just for me … for my birthday. Such a gift has never been given to me before. No one else on Earth knows me better than Nancy, and to have an artist such as her do this touched me on a very deep level. I can hardly listen to the song now without getting really misty. It is very personal, and runs deep in my heart. I hope when people hear her “Sunflower” song, they will feel Nancy’s glowing soul and her deep generosity of spirit.


Our Ten Best: Female Rock Vocalists

Female singers have been an important part of the Rock, Pop and Folk music world for decades in a band setting and as solo artists. Some have timeless vocal talent, along with incredible stage presence, while others have been singer-songwriters whose work has influenced countless others.

Here is our list of the top ten classic rock female artists:

2-Ann Wilson (Heart) – This rock songstress was an integral link to later female rock and rollers. Heart, formed in Vancouver, British Columbia with sister Nancy Wilson on rhythm guitar in 1973, was the first Led Zeppelin derivative group fronted by women featuring the dynamic lead guitar work of the Jimmy Page influenced Roger Fisher and later the talented Howard Leese. Heart was the first female band that had creative control of its material and production. Most importantly, the band showcased Ann Wilson’s powerful and melodic voice on such classic rock gems like, “Barracuda, “Crazy on You,” “Magic Man,” “Kick It Out” and the gorgeous ballad “Dog and Butterfly” (from the double platinum 1978 album of the same name). Their live version of the aforementioned Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” rivals the original. The band had a resurgence in the ‘80s with 1985’s “Heart” that featured “What About Love,” “Never” and “These Dreams”, and the “Bad Animals” album which showcased Wilson’s voice on “Alone” and “Who Will You Run To?” Around this time record company pressure focused on her weight gain and forced the group to film her in extreme close-ups and in black garb in videos to hide her appearance. Through it all her voice has remained an indispensable part of the Heart legacy. The band released “Red Velvet Car” on August 31, 2010 and continued their U.S. tour.


Brothers In Arms – Famous Siblings In Rock n Roll

Taking one for the girls next are Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart. In the long and storied history of rock and roll there have been few, if any, sister teams who have created such a lasting legacy as the Wilsons. Starting their careers as folk oriented, post hippy lyricists, Ann and Nancy formed Heart and took a much harder, edgier direction in the late seventies that has carried on to this very day, their signature song “Barracuda” coming in 1977. With a whopping thirteen albums intermittently spaced from 1973 onwards, the latest being 2010’s Red Velvet Car, the Wilson sisters have remained a strong, iron willed backbone to the Seattle music scene since their inception.


Top 10 Pop Music Comebacks 2010

8. Heart

Led by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, Canadian band Heart had two major periods of commercial success in the late 1970s and late 1980s. The last time they entered the top 10 was 20 years ago with 1990's Brigade. Following a series of successful concert dates with Journey in 2009, the band got together to create their first studio album since 2004. The result was a top 10 debut for Red Velvet Car and the adult contemporary hit single "Hey You."

Watch "Hey You" live.