One of the best voices in rock ‘n’ roll is paying tribute to other greats on a new album.
Ann Wilson’s coming solo album, “Immortal,” pays homage to Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Tom Petty, Chris Cornell, Glenn Frey, Amy Winehouse and Lesley Gore. “Immortal” will be released Sept. 14 by the Heart vocalist.
“There have been so many artists dying in the last five-year period here that I just really felt the need to honor them all in some way,” Wilson said. “So I got the idea to do ‘Immortal,’ and it’s just songs that I feel are maybe not the most popular hit songs by these artists but definitely the ones that I thought were really relevant that I really love.”
Each song on the album has a different relevance for Wilson.
“I never got to meet David Bowie, but I felt his song ‘I’m Afraid of Americans’ is extremely relative at the moment in society,” she said. “I did know Chris Cornell very well, so his friendship was relevant but one of his most powerful songs is ‘I Am the Highway,’ which just talks about him being non-objectified. Be something bigger. And then the Lesley Gore song ‘You Don’t Own Me,’ I think, is incredibly relevant right now with the #MeToo movement and just the idea that people are now trying to, you know, all kinds of people in every walk of life and every gender ID and sexual identification are trying to ask for respect and to be treated equally.”
Wilson took creative license with all the songs on “Immortal.”
“I wanted to get inside them and sing them the way I feel,” she said. “For instance, the Eagles song in honor of Glenn Frey, which is ‘Life in the Fast Lane,’ I totally took it out of that feeling and put it into a way more tribal groove and it’s cool that way. It’s just the fact that it’s a woman singing it is a whole different take on that song.”
“Immortal” was recorded the old-school way – on tape.
“It was important to me because that’s the way you get the best sound,” she said. “It’s a more complicated process. It’s not completely all automated, but you get that really warm, really present sound that people are searching for when they go listen to vinyl. … I’ve never really done it any other way. I just think there’s no better way when you do your basic tracks have the band all playing together – you know, bass, drums, and guitars basically just all playing together to get that live spark.”
For several decades, Wilson has rocked audiences with her powerful and unique vocals, and she is not done yet.
“I would like to continue to grow and be able to do stuff that is more and more relevant and more totally in line with my soul,” she said. “I want to move away from being duplicitous. By that I mean I don’t want to like one thing and do something else for a living. I want to do for a living what I love. That’s my goal.”