Ally Venable Band: Texas Honey
Blues legends have played many venues in Tulsa’s past. Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, J.J. Cale. The best of the best has come and gone. On Friday, March 15, 2019 a young blues artist made her debut appearance in Tulsa at the Venue Shrine. Her name is Ally Venable. Remember that name as it will one day be legendary for one of the best female blues guitarists and vocalists of our time. She’s that damn good. The Ally Venable Band opened the show with the title track to her album “Texas Honey” which is to be released on March 22nd via Ruf Records. From there smoke was coming off the various guitars in Ally’s arsenal all night long! The Ally Venable Band provided the best live blues show that I have witnessed in a very long time. Check out her tour schedule and make sure you do not miss them when they are at a venue near you. Oklahoma Reviews contributor, Kerri McClinton, had a chance to listen to and review the brand-new album, “Texas Honey.” Check it out below- Sean Payne
Barely in her twenties, Ally has already garnered high praise and awards from the music industry. Her previous release, Puppet Show(2018), was garnered “exceptional” by Blues Rock Review. It reached the Top 10 on both Billboard and iTunes Blues Charts. She’s claimed ETX Music Awards in several categories, including ‘Female Guitarist of the Year’, ‘Blues Band of the Year’ and ‘Album of the Year’, most of those more than once.
2019’s Texas Honey marks Ally’s Ruf Records debut. Mike Zito, at MARZ Studios, ‘turned the killer songs in her back pocket into the album of her career’. Ally says that while this album is ‘guitar-oriented’, she wanted to focus more on the ‘songwriting, the hooks and melodies’. Consider this a job well done, because her guitar skills are considerable, but the songwriting on Texas Honey is killer, indeed.
It doesn’t get any more quintessentially Texas than “Come and Take It”. From the bluesy rocking sound, carrying Stevie Ray Vaughn influences, but still entirely all her own, to the very phrase itself. “Come and Take It” is a fun, raucous ride from start to finish, and the addition of Eric Gales’ Hendrix-esque vibe on vocals is a fantastic complement to Ally’s youthful, energetic sound.
“One Sided Misunderstanding” starts with a funky, laidback guitar riff that builds throughout, and culminates in a sultry, edgy solo. Venable picks that riff back up and carries it full circle, right to the end of the track. Her voice is edgy but smooth, and it resonates with a life experience unlike most you’ll find among her peers.
“Running After You” is sure to be your next earworm. From the bass line (laid down by Bobby Wallace) to the lyrics, it’s catchy. But it’s still thoughtful and meaningful. Venable may have a honeyed voice, but when she says, “If you want to leave, then go/But just know I’m not running after you,” you know that she means it. A showcase of Ally’s vocal ability, this one will quickly become one of those anthems you want to sing along with.
The album ends with “Careless Love,” a cover of a Bessie Smith song from 1925. But it’s so much more than a cover. From the opening, you hear Owings’ drum beat, and you know this one is different. Ally and her band take this song and make it their own. Her voice soars while carrying the weight it takes to sing lines like “you set my very soul on fire”, and “night and day I weep and moan”. The three piece band finds a groove on this song and they rock it right to the finish.
When Texas Honey releases on March 22, listeners will surely be hearing the first breakout album of the year, from a name you may not have heard of yet, but are sure to hear more of in years to come. Ally is in this for the long haul. She’s grateful “for all the cool things that have happened, are happening – and will happen...” No doubt, many cool things are on the horizon for Ally Venable and her band.
Check out the band’s website and give them a follow on the social media platforms: