Written by Eddie Ferranti
Vacations are not where we go mainly searching out music. Recently though we stumbled on a great blast from the past one with Robert Cray. Always dug his rock/blues/funk thing he had going on. Shortly after we got back we visited one of our very fave haunts on a tip from good friends to catch an Austin native by the name of Jackie Venson. She had been playing here for awhile, but this was our first go ’round with her and it was stunningly good. It was pure and simple a Robert Cray in a woman’s body grab you and not let go experience!
Jackie grew up the youngest of nine children in Austin with a musical father Andrew. She attended Berklee College of Music for piano, but thank God the girl started on guitar in 2011. In 2014 she released “The Light in Me” writing her own tunes. This night she had a killer drum and bass player in tow to back her who were at least a decade her senior. Playing to a packed house she ripped into an attention getting electric jam leading up to “Crush” which she proceeded to do to the audience the rest of the night! Girl is only in her late twenties, but showed a maturity beyond her years with statements like : “I don’t care what kind of day it is at least I’m alive!” Amen sistah since I can relate recently walking out of corporate world to full time music in my life.
Smoker songs that resonated with the Cray poppy electric funk vibe were “The Struggle is Real”, “The Strut” which she did ALL night ripping down the walls in a good way at this acoustical genius of a venue , and “Run” which showcased her reggae chops, too!
It was so refreshing to see electric rockin’ blues kept alive so effortlessly and hot. Girl’s smoky hot pipes even draw comparisons to fellow Austinite stud Gary Clark Jr. That’s rarified air folks to be in!
“Bootleg Fight” and I think “I Will Fall” plus “Good Fight” had her adding distortion to this already hot mix of fun! She had yet another good quote of : “How do you expect change if you can’t change yourself?!” Lots of awesome potential with this performer to say the least. She ended the marvelous gig with what else but “We Gotta Go to the Blues” and “My Baby is Leaving Me Today”. Odds are really good that this woman’s star will only glow brighter which is evidenced already by McGonigel’s booking her for TWO gigs (7 + 9:30pm) on October 21. GOT that one locked and loaded already……..If you are a fan of soulful in your face fun kin’ blues go!