The Sound Cafe
Ally Venable Hits the Road With Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jimmie Vaughan & 'Kingfish' Ingram
By Pati deVries.
Ally Venable, the twenty-two year old badass guitarist from Kilgore, Texas announces that she'll spend the fall touring with the legendary Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jimmie Vaughn and ascending blues star, Christone "KIngfish" Ingram (scroll down for dates.) And to launch the tour, she has unveiled a new video. Not even a global pandemic could derail her momentum. Working at the Bessie Blue Studio in Stantonville, Tennessee with world-renowned producer Jim Gaines, Ally used her pandemic vacation wisely, recording her fourth album with world renowned producer Jim Gaines. Heart Of Fire released in Feb 2021, made it's debut on the Billboard Blues charts at #2 and held court in the Top 3 for four consecutive weeks. Not bad for a 22 year-old from Kilgore,Texas. The guitarist’s breakneck two decades have moved as fast as her fingers, her path winding from childhood church choirs to the teenage influence of local heroes like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Miranda Lambert. Early releases No Glass Shoes (2016) and Puppet Show (2018) earned her international fans, Top 10 chart placings and ETX Awards, but it was 2019’s #2 Billboard-charting Texas Honey and house-rocking sets on that year’s Blues Caravan tour that sent her to the next level.
Like any battle, this record gets loud. Anyone who has left an Ally Venable show with ringing ears will come expecting rip-it-up guitar work, and Heart Of Fire is a lovely way to burn. In a world of electronic pop, this old-soul gunslinger riffs up a storm on the Led Zeppelin-worthy sting of "Hard Change" and "Do It In Heels," revs up the slinky hook of "Sad Situation" and drives the title track’s intro with a heavy-booted wah lick. “That song is about being in a state of sadness,” she explains, “and someone comes along and brings you out of it, and then nobody is able to take out your flame.”
Guest Kenny Wayne Shepherd, tears up "Bring On The Pain." As Venable says: “That song is about loving someone, staying true to yourself during the bad times and saying, ‘No matter what’s going on, my love won't change’. Kenny is one of my heroes, so I’m very honoured he said yes to be a part of the song.”
While nobody is better at squeezing fresh juice from the blues-rock genre, Venable’s songwriting frequently forks into leftfield. There’s the chain-gang stomp of the Bessie Smith classic, "Hateful Blues," its lyric cursing a cruel lover. There’s the pace-changing cover of Bill Withers’ classic "Use Me," reborn here with congas, rubberband bass and a grooving lick. And don’t miss the impossibly wistful "Road To Nowhere," with Southern rocker Devon Allman dovetailing with Venable on the chorus harmonies. “Devon jumped right into the song, elevated it and brought it to life,” she remembers. “His vision for the song aligned perfectly with mine, and I’m so happy with how it turned out.”
The same could be said for Heart Of Fire. Defiant, passionate, honest and raw, this is the record these times demand, from an artist who refuses to wait for the storm to pass, but prefers to dance in the rain. “My goal for this album was to give an outlet for people,” Venable considers. “That’s really where the core of these songs comes from...”
TOURDATES Oct 15 Paramount Theatre* Anderson, IN Oct 16 The Honeywell Center* Wabash, IN Oct 17 Ludlow Garage** Cincinnati, OH Oct 22 Veterans Memorial Civic Center* Lima, OH Oct 24 Salvage Station* Asheville, NC Oct 25 Eddie’s Attic Decatur, GA Oct 27 Maxwell King Center* Melbourne, FL Oct 29 Hardrock Casino Gary, IND Nov 5 Des Plaines Theatre*** Des Plaines, IL Nov 6 Arcada Theatre*** St Charles, IL Nov 7 Victory Theatre*** Evansville, IND Nov 10 Santander PAC* Reading, PA Nov 12 Scottish Rite Auditorium*** Collingswood, NJ Nov 13 Colonial Theatre*** Phoenixville, PA Nov 14 Whitaker*** Harrisburg, PA Nov 16 Kodak Center*** Rochester, NY Nov 17 The Egg*** Albany, NY Nov 18 Sixth & i**** Washington D.C. Nov 19 Keswick Theatre **** Glenside, PA Nov 20 Town Hall*** NY, NY Nov 21 Bullrun Restaurant Shirley, MA Dec 4 Hard Rock Casino Gary IND Dec 31 Six Springs Tavern Richardson, TX
***Kenny Wayne Shepherd
****Christone Kingfish Ingram