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BLUES PLAYER

"I think that as long as you don’t harm others in the process of your self expression I think that it can be limitless." - Ally Venable

Posted: June 26, 2023
“Ally is the future of blues and the crossover music of American roots-rock.” - Mike Zito.

Photo by: Tino Sieland

There is a popular activity that is common among everyone that uses social media for self-expression. I don’t believe there is another term for it. I think I would describe it as “everything goes”. If its creative, enough to capture attention. I would admit, there are some very creative individuals out there. They have been able to draw endorsement deals, and large audiences. Before this type of self-expression, they were pretty much anonymous. They had no real foundation for what we define as entertainment. However, the current trend has enabled the normal joe, to capture the attention of individuals everywhere. I am not hating on them, as they could be out there doing other things that have a negative impact on society. Feel free to express yourself.

However, when do we use good judgement and turn down the level of self-expression? You might say, when it starts to offend someone. While that is a good thought, there isn’t anything that doesn’t offend someone. So might as well take that answer off the board. How about when self-expression has a negative effect on you personally? Now, it is time to sit up and take notice. So, ask yourself, is your method for self-expression hurting your career? Are you working in the entertainment industry and want to advance? If so, it may be time for you to take it down a notch.

I personally have witnessed videos of self-expression that totally soured my opinion of several talented artists. Their choice for obtaining followers or an audience, required that they reveal themselves in ways, they normally would not have entertained. Their fans would probably say it really doesn’t matter. After all, the more attention you get the better, right? Not at all. The attention you get for doing something “outside the box” can hurt your career. If you are in the music industry, you may have wondered what has halted your career. Could it be your form of self-expression? Are there things you are saying or doing, that has changed how you are viewed? Specifically, by those with decision making power.

It is important for me to cover this topic. Because there are way too many artists that have gone viral for their wrong choices. They revealed a part of themselves that are game changing and not for the betterment of their career.

So, I was planning to talk with Ally Venable about a music related topic. However, I thought that she would have insight into self-expression. Should there be limits to self-expression? We want to get an honest opinion. First, let’s review the background of our guest today.

ABOUT ALLY VENABLE

Texas blues-rock singer/songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire, Ally Venable, entertains wherever she goes. With her signature glitter dresses and black knee-high boots, Venable comes off the ropes swinging dazzling crowds on tour or throughout the festival circuit. "Venable pulls off a stunner of gritty and/or sultry blues rock tunes embellished with lots of tasty guitar solos." - Guitar Player Magazine. A Kilgore, Texas native, Ally began singing at church at four and picked up the guitar at age 12. By 13, she started her own band and through her early influence of Stevie Ray Vaughan captured the passion and yearning for more in the blues genre. Early releases No Glass Shoes (2016) and Puppet Show (2018) started her fanbase, charting radio play, and several East Texas Music Awards.

It was 2019’s #2 Billboard Blues charting Texas Honey and rocking sets on Ruf’s European Blues Caravan tour that propelled her internationally. “Ally is the future of blues and the crossover music of American roots-rock.” - Mike Zito. In what silenced many musicians during the pandemic, Venable now in her 20’s, released another Blues Billboard charting album, Heart of Fire (2021), which challenged her to write not only about love but the unguarded honesty of feeling pain.”On this album, I really wanted to create a tone of overcoming your struggles and persevering through them,” she explains.

Mentor and featured artist on this album, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, lends his guitar skills on XM Bluesville’s charted song, “Bring on the Pain.” In 2022, Guitar World Magazine named Ally #2 on the top 15 Young Guns Making the Gibson Les Paul Cool Again, and she received the Road Warrior award from the Independent Blues Music Awards. Along with Ally’s own tour domestically and in Europe, her band has supported Buddy Guy and Kenny Wayne Shepherd throughout the US, as well as Colin James in Canada. She has performed as a featured artist on the Experience Hendrix Show at the ACL Live at Moody Theater in Austin, Texas. Fans are anticipating Venable’s upcoming spring 2023 release produced by Grammy award winning producer, Tom Hambridge, which includes a duet with the iconic Buddy Guy and a song featuring powerhouse guitarists Joe Bonamassa.

INTERVIEW WITH ALLY VENABLE AND GUITAR THRILLS MAGAZINE

Guitar Thrills: Hello Ally. It is awesome to have you interview with us today. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule.

Ally: Hello, thank you for having me!

Guitar Thrills: It has been a very busy time in your career. How do you ever manage to hold an interview?

Ally: It has been a busy time. I’m very grateful for all of the opportunities coming my way. I guess you caught me on a quiet day, haha.

Guitar Thrills: Needless to say, we are happy that you had time for Guitar Thrills Magazine. I want to get directly into this topic of self-expression. Which is defined as “the expression of one's feelings, thoughts, or ideas, especially in writing, art, music, or dance”. Easy enough to understand. There is no wrong or right response. So, feel free to let me know what’s. Do you think that there should be a limit to self-expression? Is there any situation where it may impact your career as an artist?

Ally: I think that as long as you don’t harm others in the process of your self expression I think that it can be limitless. There are so many outlets that you can choose to express yourself. I’ve learned that you can never please absolutely everyone that is in front of you, and you will make others uncomfortable, it’s inevitable, but there’s a way you can present your ideas and get your point across in an appropriate way, whatever that may be . You shouldn’t let others dictate how you choose to express yourself. That is the most vulnerable and sacred process about being an artist.

Guitar Thrills: That is honest. I can appreciate that viewpoint. Is playing the guitar a means of self-expression for you? Is that how you feel about them today, or has it changed?

Ally: Yes, Playing the guitar for me, is an absolute form of self expression. Playing the guitar on stage is where I feel the most comfortable and that allows me to have freedom to express myself in a safe way.

Guitar Thrills: Some artist’s are not aware of the negative impact they can have in terms of how far they go when expressing themselves. Their decision-making process is not as difficult as it seems. Awareness and gathering knowledge become poignant to our mental faculties. Is there something that you do daily that enables you to make wise decisions?

Ally: nobody is perfect and I think that a lot of times we do fall short or we may have not made the best decision at one point in time but we are all human and that’s OK it’s not really about the mistakes we’ve made, it’s what you do with the mistakes and how you take that decision that you made and grow from it and become a better person from the experiences that you’ve had throughout your life. I think having that mentality is what helps my drive and to never stop going for what I want to do in my life.

Guitar Thrills: When you first started out in the music industry, do you think would you have done things differently? Especially now that you are wiser?

Ally: I started singing at a very young age and I started playing the guitar when I was around 12 years old. I started touring when I was about 15 years old. What I really love about this life is that it’s always a learning process. I’m constantly adapting to new changes and I’m always on my feet. I don’t think I would change anything from when I first started to the progression of where I’m at now and where I continue to go because when I look back at where I first started I see so much growth and I look forward to seeing where my music will take me in the future

Guitar Thrills: You know what it takes to ensure a successful outcome. This is apparent by your example, and with the results of your albums and fan support.

Ally: Well, thank you for that. I’m just grateful for the support I do have from all of my fans in the music community that I have. I am very passionate about what I do and I think that is the driving force for anyone that wants to be successful not just a Music but in general and everyone has their own version of what success means to them and as long as I can keep playing my music and touring and meeting new people and getting to continue what I’m doing now I think that would make me very happy.

Guitar Thrills: I try to cover some highlights about Ally Venable. I know there is more to you than that. Can you tell us who Ally Venable is?

Ally: I’m just a girl from East Texas that likes to play her guitar.

Guitar Thrills: Who were your examples that you looked up to in the music industry?

Ally: I’m just a huge fan of ripping guitar playing. I love Stevie Ray Vaughan and I love Buddy Guy. I look up to a lot of my peers and mentors within the industry that are around me as well.

Guitar Thrills: When did you identify that you were going down a path to succeed as an artist?

Ally: I think it just kind of found me. Play music it’s just something that I connect really well with and resonates with others and it’s something that I see myself doing for the rest of my life.

Guitar Thrills: What are you currently working on, and what do you have planned for performances?

Ally: I’m currently working on my new tracks from my new release called real gone it will be released in March of this year and I plan to go out with my band and tour on the new songs and I’m very excited.

Guitar Thrills: We hope we are not putting you on the spot, but would you like you to be on the cover of Guitar Thrills Magazine. How does that sound?

Ally: That would be awesome, what an honor!

Guitar Thrills: That is awesome. Thank you for taking the time today. We hope to have you back soon.

Ally: Thank you for having me, and hope to see you at a show soon!

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