If you’re planning on attending Gary Clark Jr.’s show at 20 Monroe Live on Tuesday it’s worth getting to the venue in time to catch his opening act, Jackie Venson, who will be making a stop in Grand Rapids for the first time.
Venson is a singer-songwriter based out of Austin, Texas. She started her career as so many young musicians do, with piano lessons. By age 21, she’d taken up singing as well and decided to trade in the piano keys for the strings of an electric guitar.
“I wanted to play electric blues,” Venson said. The genre caught her attention thanks to a Pandora station she’d been listening to.
“I got obsessed with Buddy Guy,” she said. “That was a big catalyst for me. I went out and bought a beginner book and started plugging away.”
Today, Venson tries to defy being categorized in a single genre, but said there is definitely a soulful, pop and blues vibe to her music.
Venson is releasing her latest EP, “Transcends,” on Sept. 29 and is excited to play songs off the album, which she said is about universal love.
“It’s an album about love and acceptance. Love in the universal, not romantic love,” she said.
“I’m really pumped about the first track, ‘Flying.’ It’s probably my favorite thing I ever recorded. It captures the energy of the band perfectly. I don’t know how he captured the drummer’s energy so perfectly.”
She said the title track is another favorite on the five-song EP. “That one is about no matter what happens in the world or around you in your life or in the universe, love transcends it all,” she said.
Venson was motivated to write that song by hearing the phrase “love wins,” which she said isn’t really accurate. “Love doesn’t win, it’s beyond all of that. Love exists no matter what happens, it transcends.”
Besides promoting her EP, Venson is working on a full-length album, “The Love Suite,” which she plans to release in the future.
See Gary Clark Jr. with Jackie Venson on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 20 Monroe Live. Doors open at 7:30 and the performance starts at 8:30.
*Photo by Jinni J