Writer Colin Campbell recently got the chance to talk with Ally Venable before she played with the Blues Caravan at the wonderful Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh, Scotland. This was a concert put on by the Edinburgh Blues Club. We discussed various subjects including touring, being a Texas Honey and her new album by the same name.
Thanks for taking time out to talk to Blues Matters, what are you up to?
We just got done sound checking for our show here in Edinburgh. We’re in Scotland right? Really excited, it’s my first time touring in the UK; it’s been a really cool experience and I’m looking forward to the show tonight.
How did you get involved with Ruf Records Blues Caravan Tour?
I got involved with Ruf Records through Mike Zito. I played a show in Texas with Mike where we live. Mike is awesome, a great musician, great guitar player and songwriter. He produced my album Texas Honey on Ruf records, so that’s how I got involved.
How are you enjoying the tour so far?
It’s real FUN. I’ve been to so many cool places and venues, a cool experience that’s for sure!
Any favourite places along the way?
This one’s really cool (The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh). I’ve enjoyed playing in Germany and France, everywhere has been truly awesome.
What about the band?
I have Elijah Owings on drums here from my own band, it’s good to have him tour here for the first time as well. It’s cool playing with Ina ( Forsman) and Kat (Pejak). Everyone plays differently. Ina is more soulful with some R&B mixed in. Kat is a singer-songwriter type of act. It’s good learning their songs, they are tunes, I would not be playing if it wasn’t for that! It’s a learning experience for me and also it’s fun to learn the songs and play them on stage. My set is rocky too!
Is there a bandleader as such?
We all kind of put our opinions in to make the best show possible. We all contribute to putting the show together.
What makes a good show, in your opinion?
What makes this show cool is we all bring our own types of blues to the table. We play our own songs that we play our own way in the show. This makes people connect so well with us. I think that’s why it’s so great.
What are the demographics of your audiences with your band?
I see a lot more young people coming to my shows. There are always the older folk who love blues and will continue to go to blues gigs. A lot of artists are evolving blues and that’s a very good thing. As an artist, you want to keep evolving and young people want to keep evolving with it.
How did you get into music as a career in the first place?
I sang in church when I was really little! When I was twelve I wanted to play the guitar and what got me into blues music was Stevie Ray Vaughan. He’s from Texas; I’m from Texas so it started. I loved his voice first then I found out what a wonderful guitar player he was. My goal was to inspire other people, to get people into the blues genre like Stevie did for me.
What other music do you listen to?
I love Gary Clark Junior, Joe Bonamassa, and any guitar orientated music I love. Hard to choose a favourite, the guitarists I have listened to have all impacted on my music in different ways.
What was it like growing up in Texas?
I grew up and still live in East Texas. My parents don’t play instruments but they are music lovers. They exposed me to great artists, especially 80’s rock! I noticed as I grew through my musical journey that blues is in everything. All genres derive from this. The church was an influence, so was Lance Lopez he taught me a lot of techniques. I learn the most when I play with my band. I have been fortunate when being on the road.
What is your definition of the blues?
I guess it’s a feeling, how you play it, could be happy or sad, it’s the way you feel.
Can you talk about the new album Texas Honey, is this going to be your new nickname in blues genre circles?
A lot of people have been calling me that, I enjoy it, it’s a cool thing when people can connect with your music through your name. The album was real fun to make. We did it in Texas with Mike Zito and my band Elijah Owings on drums and Bobby Wallace on bass. My friend Eric Gales played on the album he’s amazing! When I write songs, I try and write about things other people can relate to. Just to let people know it’s ok to feel a certain way and we’re all human and striving for our own goals. We all go through things, even though I’m only twenty I can relate to this. My songs are like my babies. They grow when you play them live. I like the tune “Broken” also “Texas Honey”. Mike Zito played with us; he’s fun to work with.
Musically, what has been your best advice?
Just keep doing what you love! My friends keep me going. Little things people say to you after a gig, they make me feel good. I love being on the road, seeing different people. We always joke with each other on the road. We had a van once, and all the tyres fell off!
Any plans for the future?
Keep creating music people enjoy and exploring different places. Just keep doing the things I love. Thank you to everyone who comes to the shows I put together!
Sounds like a good place to stop, good luck with tonight’s show and the rest of the tour. Thanks!
Article & Image by Colin Campbell
For More Info, Tours etc – Ally Venable