For Austin, Texas-based blues guitarist Jackie Venson, music is more than just a succession of sounds and rhythms-it’s a way of life, a principle that informs every second. This perspective was passed on to her by her father, Andrew Venson, himself a musical mainstay of Austin. Led by a desire to work out the intricacies of her musical direction, she enrolled at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, where she picked up a guitar for the very first time. Inspired by a host of influences and genres, her sound is a complex amalgam of rock pop, blues and soul-a rhythmic extrapolation of artists ranging from Buddy Guy to Alicia Keys to Sade.
She’s opened for artists as disparate as James Taylor, Jason Aldean and Tim McGraw, but her sound isn’t pinned to any one aesthetic. It’s a constantly shifting mass of rock riffs, soulful vocals and intensely personal narratives. Her wild and unpredictable live performances have earned her countless fans and given her the opportunity to cut loose outside of a studio setting.
To capture this sense of reckless creativity, Venson is gearing up for the release of a live record called “Jackie Venson Live,” set to be released sometime later this year.
On her new live single, “Lost in Time,” she howls and stomps, kicking dust around with seismic guitar licks and waves of distortion. Her ability to transform cosmic riffs into soulful bursts of blues-influenced noise is more than just a learned talent; it’s an instinctual part of her personality, as evidenced by the way she utterly captivates her audience in this setting. Her voice echoes within the space, lifting upward as it carries her audience along on an electrified delta blues current.
“‘Lost in Time’ is a tribute to all the folks out there who have ever been put down or dismissed by anyone,” Venson said. “I find that most negative deeds done by people are not personal, [but are] rather an extension of how they feel about themselves and their situation.”
Between the incandescence of her fierce nature and the technical proficiency of her fretwork, Venson is poised to show people how this kind of hybrid musical cacophony can move and influence without resorting to overt sentimentality or emotional manipulation. It’s the sound of one woman pushing back against a rising tide of assumptions and musical stereotypes, and creating wonder from her own experiences.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.