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'I'm in it for love,' says Ann Wilson of Heart

Ann Wilson of Heart will perform at the Kenley Amphitheater in Layton on June 26 and the Sandy Amphitheater on June 27.
Ann Wilson of Heart will perform at the Kenley Amphitheater in Layton on June 26 and the Sandy Amphitheater on June 27.
Jess Griffin

The powerhouse vocalist behind “Crazy on You” and “Barracuda” is bringing her raspy, soprano voice to the Beehive State.

Ann Wilson, the lead singer for the rock band Heart, gained widespread popularity in the 1970s for her equally widespread vocal range. With lead guitarist and younger sister Nancy Wilson by her side, the sister-duo formed one of the first female-driven hard rock bands, according to their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame page.

Yet, as Wilson prepares for her two performances in Utah — one on June 26 at the Kenley Amphitheater in Layton and the other at the Sandy Amphitheater on June 27 — she makes it extremely clear that her shows represent a significant break from Heart.

“This is not a Heart show, the singer told the Deseret News. “So don’t expect to see the total Heart set. It’s still rock. It’s still beautiful ballads and cool, kickin’ rock songs. I do about four Heart songs that have been reimagined, some new songs I’ve written in the last year or so, and some outstanding, incredible covers that I love that really inspire me.”

Wilson kicked off her solo tour “Ann Wilson of Heart” in her Seattle hometown in March. The tour extends throughout the summer and is a manifestation of her own music preferences, with the inclusion of songs such as The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give Up.”

But there’s also a symbolic element to the tour as it seems to forge a new path for Wilson.

“The main purpose (of the tour) is for me to stretch out and get to do something different, and begin to lead the evolution of Heart into cooler waters,” she said. “I’m doing exactly what I want to do, and it’s been so fun. We’ve been getting a fantastic response.”

Wilson’s move away from her Heart roots isn’t completely unanticipated. The singer told Rolling Stone magazine in a recent interview that as of a few years ago, she and her sister “no longer had a shared vision for what (they) wanted for Heart.”

This divide deepened last summer during a Heart concert near the band’s hometown. While the sisters were onstage performing, a violent scene erupted backstage between Wilson’s husband and her sister’s children. It was a dispute that led to the sisters finishing out the remainder of their tour in separate dressing rooms, according to the Rolling Stone article.

Since that incident, the sisters have embarked on new projects that have taken them in new — and separate — directions. While Wilson has been traveling the nation on her massive solo tour, her sister launched the band Roadcase Royale earlier this year with former Prince vocalist Liv Warfield, according to the Rolling Stone.

And while the future of Heart is shrouded in uncertainty, Wilson is putting all of her heart into her current tour that above all is a labor of love.

“(This show) is exactly what I want to do,” she said. “I’m not in it for the money; I’m in it for love. I put together a really beautiful, cool band. We’re mentoring a lot of young people backstage (that are) doing jobs that they’ve never done before. It’s a really cool tribe. … I just hope people decide to come see us, because it’s a good show. They’ll have a fun evening if they do.”

If you go ...

What: Ann Wilson of Heart

When: June 26 at 8 p.m. and June 27 at 8 p.m.

Where: June 26 concert, Kenley Amphitheater, 403 N. Wasatch Drive, Layton; June 27 concert, Sandy City Amphitheater, 1245 E. 9400 South, Sandy

How much: June 26 concert, $39-$69; June 27 concert, $22-$45

Web: June 26, tickets.davisarts.org; June 27, sandyamp.com

'I'm in it for love,' says Ann Wilson of Heart

Ann Wilson of Heart will perform at the Kenley Amphitheater in Layton on June 26 and the Sandy Amphitheater on June 27.

Email: lottiejohnson@deseretnews.com