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Heart’s Ann Wilson brings solo show to the Hard Rock Rocksino

April 2, 2018

Heart’s Ann Wilson brings solo show to the Hard Rock Rocksino

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Ann Wilson and her sister, Nancy, grew up as “military brats,” daughters of a Marine. As such, they were used to constant change.

I know, because I grew up as an Army brat – going to 24 different schools by the time I finished high school.

So it’s no surprise that military brats – including the Wilson sisters – are adaptable. Especially as they are the daughters of a branch of service whose mantra includes “adapt, improvise and overcome.″

That’s one reason that despite their current estrangement – the two have been on the outs since Ann’s husband pleaded guilty to assault charges leveled after a tour bus incident involving Nancy’s teenaged twins -- Ann Wilson is continuing to perform the songs she and her sister made famous as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame group Heart.

Ann will be at the Hard Rock Rocksino on Saturday, April 7, in a solo gig billed as “Ann Wilson of Heart,″ and then return to Northeast Ohio on Saturday, April 14, to present one of her musical heroes, the Moody Blues, for induction into the Rock Hall.

“I asked them if I could do it because the Moody Blues mean so much to me personally,” Wilson said. “When I was in art college after high school in the ’60s, that was who I was listening to.

“When ‘Days of Future Passed’ came out, it was an epiphany for me musically,″ she said. “Songs like ‘Question,’ ‘Voices in the Sky’ – all of those influenced my songwriting.″

But the 800-pound canary in the room remains that ongoing rift with Nancy.

As with most family squabbles, what happened depends on whom you ask. Undisputed is that Ann’s husband, Dean Wetter, got into an altercation with two of Nancy’s sons after one left a tour bus door open after a show in Washington state in August 2016. He eventually pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of assault, and was able to avoid jail time.

Ann Wilson could have dodged questions about the episode, but met them head-on, and said that while she regrets what happened, some sort of time apart was inevitable for two siblings who’ve been performing together since they were little girls, and the incident is evidence of that.

“That in itself is proof why we needed a breather,″ Wilson said in a call from a hotel in Los Angeles.

It may take a while, and she’s really not sure under what circumstances it could happen, but Wilson said she doesn’t see the band permanently splitting.

“I think that people should realize that Heart will exist until you hear otherwise,″ she said.

In the meantime, she had some advice for fans.

“They should listen to what they have – my thing and Nancy’s Roadcase Royale,″ she said. “She and I were at odds with what to do with Heart in 2016. That really was the beginning of the transition we’re feeling now.

“Heart is what I make it,″ she said.

“I don’t have a goal for Heart or for myself,″ Wilson said. “All I have is getting into the present moment of the journey of making music.”

In a way, she’s taking her own advice for the newcomers into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame:

“Enjoy being kings for a night, then get up and take a breath and go back to work,″ she said.

The break from being Heart vs. Ann Wilson of Heart means she can work on “Songs for the Living,″ a collection of covers of songs by artists who have recently died.

“I got the idea that with all the surprise departures in the last few years, it would be my honor to make a record of the songs by Chris Cornell, Tom Petty, Leonard Cohen, Lesley Gore and Amy Winehouse,″ said Wilson, who is also doing a David Bowie tune as well as one by the Eagles’ Glenn Frey in addition to a Jack Bruce cut called “Politician.″

“It’s not the usual hits,″ she said. The songs include “I Am the Highway″ by Cornell, back when he was with Audioslave, Bowie’s “I’m Afraid of Americans″ and “A Thousand Kisses Deep″ by Cohen.

Though she’s proud of Heart, and still sings the hits, this project and others to come are Wilson’s way of evolving.

“That’s what all veteran musicians have to figure out,″ she said. “You have to measure up to your old self or be your new self.

“Remember why you got into it in the first place, which is for the joy of doing music,″ Wilson said. Don’t focus on selling records, making money or having radio success.

“Do what you need to do and be inside the music and make your music from a sincere, authentic place.″

Ann Wilson of Heart When: 8 p.m. Saturday, April 7. Where: Hard Rock Rocksino, 10777 Northfield Road, Northfield. Tickets: $42.50 to $62.50, plus fees, at the box office, online at ticketmaster.com and by phone at 1-800-745-3000.