The New Project By The Ann Wilson Thing !
Bruce Von Stiers
Ann Wilson has had a long and boisterous career as the lead vocalist and songwriter for the rock band Heart. She and her sister Nancy were two of the front runners for women in rock music. Heart recently released a new album that was well received. But Ann has more to offer than just being the leader of a band. She also has been garnering a lot of attention with her solo effort. Ann calls her new project The Ann Wilson Thing!
Ann had already released an EP for her solo effort a while back. But now Ann has put forth the sophomore album for The Ann Wilson Thing! This one is an EP titled Focus, and was released at the end of July of this year.
Focus has four songs on it and a play time of twenty minutes. It was produced by Craig Bartock and released on the Rounder Records label. For the EP, Ann and Craig co-wrote two of the songs.
Not only did Craig Bartock produce the EP, he also played guitar, drums, percussion and keys on various songs. His background includes working with Heart, Blondie, Brandy and Nikki Sixx as either a musician, arranger or producer. Bass player Andy Stoller has worked with Tracy Chapman and Kristen Ward among others. He lends his talents on bass to this EP. Ric Markmann has composed the themes and written music for numerous television programs and films besides recording and touring with bands like Heart and Eleven. He plays bass on one of the songs here. Pianist and keyboard artist Chris Joyner has worked with many artists and bands such as Natalie Merchant, Rickie Lee Jones and Heart. He plays the keys and accordion for the EP. Ben Smith has been the drummer for Heart so it wasn't too surprising to see him listed as the drummer for this new material.
Heart has been known to take classic rock songs like Stairway To Heaven and add their own touch to them. Ann continues with this style of tribute on this EP with a rendition of the Jimi Hendrix song, Manic Depression. This was a live recording. It is a pretty cool version, capturing the musical essence of the Hendrix original, coupled with the hard hitting vocals by Ann.
Fighten Fer Life is one of the original songs. It kind of has a folk rock style but a little harsher than you might normally find. It has cool accordion music along with the guitar supporting Ann's vocals.
Don't Give Up was written by Peter Gabriel done as a duet by him and Kate Bush. But Ann tackles the song by herself. This is heart wrenching song about someone ready to give up due to life troubles and how that person shouldn't give up as they have friends that would help and that life just might get better. Ann takes the anguish of the song to a slightly harsher level, yet encases it in a gentle glove of hope.
Speaking of anguish, that is the title of the final song on the EP. Anguish has a tough alt blues / rock tone to it. The song is all about the anguish that life can hand out. This is the other original song on the EP.
Focus shows that Ann Wilson is not satisfied to sit back and not try new things. The two original songs and the renditions of the other two, are great showings of Ann's talent outside the framework of the band Heart that she leads with her sister Nancy.
Focus is available at most digital and traditional music outlets.
To find out more about Focus and The Ann Wilson Thing!, visit www.theannwilsonthing.com.
You can also might want to check out the Facebook page for The Ann Wilson Thing! at https://www.facebook.com/Theannwilsonthing
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© 2016 Bruce E Von Stiers