Heart’s Wilson Sisters and Jason Bonham’s Led Zep Experience will tour this summer together

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Heart and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience will tribute Led Zeppelin this summer.
 

It is hardly unheard of for rock stars to pay tribute to their colleagues and forbears, but Heart is taking professional hat-tipping to a new level.

The group, which will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 18, and is best known for its hits “Barracuda,” “Crazy on You” and “What About Love,” will tour this summer with Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, the band led by the son of John Bonham, Led Zeppelin’s drummer. The two bands will collaborate on a 35-minute tribute to Led Zeppelin at the end of each concert on the 11-week tour, which begins in West Palm Beach, Fla., on June 17.

When the elder Mr. Bonham died in 1980, Led Zeppelin announced that it would not perform again. The surviving players relented in December 2007, when they reunited for one show at the 02 Arena in London. For the occasion, Jason Bonham played his father’s drum parts. The concert was recently released on CD and DVD as “Celebration Day”  (Atlantic).

Heart and Mr. Bonham collaborated on a performance of “Stairway to Heaven” in December when Led Zeppelin received a Kennedy Center Honor. The performance was televised and later released by iTunes and other downloading services.

Heart: Fanatic – Album Review

The Wilson sisters

“Why do you have to go sulk off in some corner because you are a girl? What’s the big deal?” ~ Ann Wilson


Heart has had quite a year. They released a career-spanning box set, Strange Euphoria, which preceded a memoir by band leaders Ann and Nancy Wilson, Kicking and Dreaming. To top it off, they returned with their 14th studio album, Fanatic.

They are now just about 40 years into a career that has seen them attain huge commercial success. They made a wise decision to return to their hard rocking roots. They have moved away from the polished pop rock sound that produced their biggest hit singles and have returned to basics. As such, they have created an album where the songs flow into each other and form a cohesive whole.

The two constants in the band have always been vocalist Ann Wilson and guitarist Nancy Wilson. The core backing band for the album was their regular drummer Ben Smith, guitarist Ben Mink, and bassist Rick Markmann. Mink served as the producer for the second album in a row and did a much better job than on 2010s Red Velvet Car as he kept the band focused and the music tight. He also co-wrote all 10 tracks with the Wilson sisters. Ann Wilson has always possessed one of the most powerful and clearest voices in rock music and it shows little wear after four decades of fronting one of music’s premier bands.

The music uses a hard rock foundation as it moves outward in a number of directions. They have always admired Led Zeppelin and here they channel their sound with “Corduroy Road.” “Rock Deep (America)” is an old-fashioned rock romp. “Walkin’ Good” unites the voices of Nancy Wilson and Sarah McLachlan. The title track presents the passion that the Wilson sisters have brought to their work for decades.

Perhaps the most affecting track is the patriotic “Dear Old America,” which is built on the post-war memories of their father. The use of strings gives it a very poignant feel.

Fanatic’s biggest surprise is the band’s return to their past. If you are one of the best band’s in rock music and want to model an album after someone, why not choose yourself. It is a worthy addition to their legacy.

The fact that Ann Wilson sounds exactly the same as she did 30, 35 years ago is one of the most amazing things ever.

Back to basics: Heart return to their hard rocking roots

From the polished pop rock sound that produced their biggest hit singles