Blues Guitarist And Vocalist Jackie Venson Releases Live Album To Rave Reviews

By Myki Angeline

Photo by Pooneh Ghana

Austin-born indie/blues guitarist/vocalist, Jackie Venson, released her live album, Jackie Venson Live, to rave reviews from publications including Guitar Player Magazine, Austin Chronicle, Austin Monthly, Texas Monthly, and Bitch Media among others, and recently performed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The live album is a raw follow-up to her 2015 studio full-length, The Light in Me.

She Shreds states, “Jackie Venson is one of the most talented up and coming blues guitarists of her generation. With a gorgeous singing voice, a guitar style that is both dynamic and technically precise, and music that blends genres, she is one to watch out for“.

Visit her website and purchase Jackie Venson Live HERE.

Daughter of Austin music staple, Andrew Venson, Jackie’s early drive for music led her to Boston’s Berklee College of Music, where she picked up a guitar for the first time. Inspired by blues, R&B and pop artists alike, Venson draws on diverse influences ranging from Buddy Guy to Sade to Alicia Keys. In April of 2014, she was handpicked from over 2,000 entries by Southern retail chain, Belk, for their Belk Fashion Lounge concert series. Throughout the series’ five amphitheater performances, she supported famed country and southern icons Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw and James Taylor. The Austin American-Statesman has hailed her sound as “an astonishing mix of raw soul, superb musicianship and laid back grace.”

Jackie Venson completed a successful European tour in 2015, along with several U.S. dates in 2016.

Below is “Rollin On’” by Jackie Venson:  6 minutes of pure-blues recorded LIVE!


Front and Center: Guitarist and Vocalist, Samantha Fish

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Guitarist and Vocalist, Samantha Fish


By Gabriella Steffenberg 

Born in Kansas City, Mo., blues and rock musician Samantha Fish immersed herself into the music since picking up a guitar at 13. With a fear of performing in front of audiences, Fish pushed through her doubts and realized years later that this was a career she wanted to pursue.

With three albums released to date, Fish has overcome the obstacle that once blocked her creative outlet, and has been working on new music for an upcoming album.

Read on below to learn more about this week’s Front and Center, and check out Fish’s official website here.

WiMN: When did you know that you wanted to be a musician?

SF: I started playing music when I was 13, but I didn’t know that it was going to be my life until I was 17/18. I remember it was a pretty definitive moment. I was a really shy kid and I was thrown onto a stage for my first public performance – it was the scariest thing, but it changed me. I kind of knew after that moment that I wanted to keep chasing down that feeling; I wanted to be a performer.

WiMN: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since entering the music industry?

SF: You learn things everyday if you are looking for them. Really the biggest thing I’ve had to learn to do is to trust my instincts. Being young and female in a male-driven industry – there’s a lot of second-guessing yourself. Any decisions that are made, I have to wear them. So I’ve had to start trusting my gut and also be humble enough to keep seeking out education.

WiMN: Have there been any women in your life that have inspired you and your music? If so, in what ways?

SF: My mom and my sister were always singing when I was a kid. When I started hearing females playing instruments that really changed a lot for me. I saw Sheryl Crow early on, just seeing her run all over the stage playing various instruments was really inspiring. It opened the door for me to get into Bonnie Raitt, Lucinda Williams, etc.

WiMN: Are you currently working on new music?

SF: Yes, always. I just finished an acoustic album in December. Not sure about an official release date yet. I am writing again, and I’ve been doing demos; I’m always working on new music.

WiMN: What piece of advice would you give to women looking to be in the music industry?

SF: Hone your craft. Be a bad-ass. Don’t ever stop learning. It’s hard being a female in this industry, so you have to work really hard to prove yourself as a contender. Work hard, find your voice.

WiMN: What are your musical goals that you want to accomplish over the next year?

SF: I want to get out to as many people as humanly possible. I also want to find more time to be creative and write music, and I want to continue growing my business.

Donna Grantis Feature with PRS Private Stock Custom Guitar

By Gabriella Steffenberg 



Donna Grantis, guitarist for Prince, is featured in a new Guitar World YouTube video where she talks about her Paul Reed Smith (PRS) private stock custom guitar.

Grantis had the opportunity to visit the PRS guitars factory in Stevensville, Md. and was able to see the process that goes on behind the scenes. She was able to collaborate with them to build her dream guitar, based off of the Mira Semi-Hollow, which she finds are perfect for playing rock and funk.

Watch the full feature with Grantis below, view her beautiful guitar, and learn more about what goes into the creation of a PRS private stock custom guitar:

Front & Center: Singer-Songwriter and Multi-Instrumentalist, Sofie Reed

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front & Center: Singer-Songwriter and Multi-Instrumentalist, Sofie Reed

By Gabriella Steffenberg

DSC_2407Sofie Reed’s charisma shows itself in every one of her songs.

Originally from Sweden, she left her native town of Ludvika for the U.S. at 18, and found herself in Minneapolis, Minn., in an entirely new part of the world.

Reed freelanced as a stylist within the local music scene until one of her clients, Sheila Charles (daughter of Ray Charles), hired her as a back-up singer, thus launching her career as a session work singer in the Twin Cities and beyond.

Reed is a self-taught musician, playing harmonica, guitar, lap steel guitar, ukulele, dulcimer, and percussion with the help of stomping on an old wooden wine box. She has recorded three CDs, and is an independent touring artist.

Reed currently resides in Buffalo Creek, Colo. Check out her official site and support Reed’s albums on her BandCamp page.

WiMN: You’ve got such a classic blues voice. Who are your biggest influences?

SR: I made a conscious choice to do my best in finding my own voice early on in my career, so surely life and its journey are really my greatest influences.

WiMN: Other than the blues, which genres of music do you enjoy playing most and why?

SR: I call what I do Roots music, which would include both blues and folk, and whatever else comes from a simple setting of sound. I love Jazz, R&B, Funk, Rock’n Roll… It’s all music to me, and why I love it is because all of it moves me!!

WiMN: Moving to a foreign country to pursue your dreams can be frightening. What advice would you give to other women seeking to follow their dreams, but may be afraid to do so?

SR: Artistry is a tough journey, and tougher if you think the world “cares.” To follow one’s dream, you have to let your own spirit guide you… You have to learn to listen well to that spirit, and keep the channel free and clear of what does not belong. Keep goals attainable where you have control and remain the owner of your dream.

Don’t give up because you are going through a hard time, rather work through it as there is a lot to learn from such a feeling… It’s all in what you make of the experience.

WiMN: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting off in the music industry?

SR: There are many big lessons… The biggest are how to survive all of the illusions of people in and around the music industry, and to stay true to your goal – keep on going with or without the support.

WiMN: You play so many different instruments, and you’re self-taught. Was there any particular instrument you had a hard time with during the beginning phase?

SR: They are all hard in the beginning phase!!!

WiMN: Where is your favorite place to visit while touring?

SR: I don’t think I have a one favorite place…  I love them all!

WiMN: You’ve got a new album set for release fall of this year; tell us about it.

SR: As more dates were added to my tour schedule, my recording was delayed, so my new solo CD may not be complete until after the New Year. I’ve added pedals of different sorts to the dulcimer, because in a way it adds another dimension. I have not decided yet what to name my new collection, so we’ll see!

I have another couple of projects in process, and is one of them. It’s a project with artists writing songs in themes of the projects name – “peace” and “earth.” As well as a Holiday recording, I’m also working on a project with Lee Oskar.

WiMN: What are your plans for the rest of the year into 2016?

SR: I’ve been busy touring this year and I have a couple of trips left – in between I write music and record. It looks like 2016 will be even busier, with a few fun opportunities I will be announcing soon on my website! 🙂

Adrian Conner of AC/DC Tribute Band Hell’s Belles Launches Pledge Fund to Help Release New Solo Acoustic Album

By Gabriella Steffenberg

Adrian Conner, the lead guitarist for the all-female AC/DC tribute band Hell’s Belles, is gearing up to release her eighth studio album next month titled Hush!. Hush! is a fully acoustic album, which is a first for electric shredder Conner.

Cover art for 'Hush!'

Cover art for ‘Hush!’

The Austin rocker is a seasoned pro, having traveled and toured all over (including opening for Brody Dalle last year in San Francisco), playing music and letting her guitar skills flex. Now it is time to move into a realm in which she feels more exposed – the acoustic world.

As Conner recently told, “there are no effects on an acoustic guitar… I’m totally naked and have to be more technically proficient. But on the flip side, I can hear my voice more than ever.”

Conner is excited to release Hush! to the public because she wanted to create an album that her and her band could perform at any and every venue. The album has no fixed genre, with musical stylings of blues, rock, indie, folk, and alternative. Her newest effort covers acoustic versions of her own previous works and new material, as well as acoustic takes on rock classics such as Led Zeplin’s “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp.”

Although she’s surpassed her goal, her fundraising page on Pledge Music is still open for another 29 days until the release. The extra money will go toward the promotion of Hush! and different donations allot to various exclusive items for fans. Stay “in the know” with Conner at and keep an ear out for Hush!, her rad new album due this September.