In the music spotlight: Jackie Venson

SHARE In the music spotlight: Jackie Venson
jved303_e1515527684296.jpg

Jackie Venson | Jenni J Photo

Well-established in her hometown of Austin, Texas, rising talent Jackie Venson continues her upward trajectory in locales far from home where fans seek soulful grooves, savvy blues guitar and songs to free the mind. The singer and guitarist visits Chicago’s Elbo Room next week with her loop station and rhythm section, brining formidable instrumental chops and a musical message of positivity. “It’s all good,” she sings reassuringly on the terse soul-pop of “Mysterious” from new recent EP “Transcends,” even as she sings about navigating emotional pitfalls and growing pains.

Venson’s Texas roots are evident in her soulful blues guitar playing on “Show My Light” from 2016 album “Live at Strange Brew.” Her muscular fretwork is balanced by a singing voice that radiates warmth and spirit. The sinewy funk of “Fight” is reminiscent of Sheila E., encouraging both solidarity and self-confidence in the effort to elevate oneself and one’s community. Title track “Transcends” lists a litany of modern societal ills. Danger, destruction and exploitation lurk around every corner. Venson responds fearlessly with a fierce riff and a simple mantra that states, “love transcends.”

The artist has claimed influences ranging from Buddy Guy to Sade and Alicia Keys, all of which ring equally true in recordings including 2014’s “The Light in Me” and her stage show. Venson has been particularly well-matched as a touring partner of fellow Austin guitarist Gary Clark Jr., but her current run of Midwest club dates find her ready to build upon strong word of mouth on her own terms and using her own vibrant power.

The restless propulsion of an artist on the move rings through the soulful “Flying,” as Venson sings about determination and potential. It’s a song of social power, but it echoes the energy of a promising young career. “I see where I am going, and I see where I have been,” sings Venson. “Keep my faith forever flowing, until the end.”

The end for Venson is a long way off, indeed. Catch her at the Elbo Room on Tuesday. It won’t be long before her energy and audience have outgrown such intimate confines.

* Jackie Venson, 8 p.m. Jan. 16, Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln. $10 (ages 21+over); ticketfly.com.

Jeff Elbel is a local freelance writer.

The Latest
Since the Los Angeles Sparks won consecutive titles in 2001 and ’02, 13 of the 20 reigning champions didn’t make it back to the Finals; seven returned and lost. One of those seven was Parker’s 2017 Sparks team.
Harris was just in Illinois on June 24 for events in Plainfield and Chicago.
After allowing hits to five of the first nine hitters he faced Friday, Sampson switched to his off-speed pitches and retired 12 of the next 14.
Christopher Morel’s versatility is conjuring memories of Ben Zobrist, and the Cubs are putting him to good use.
Hendriks said he’ll come off the injured list Monday, when the Sox open a stretch of games against AL Central teams. “We need to fall in love with the game again,” he said.