Fave5 with Jackie Venson
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2022 print issue of Quench Magazine.
Singer-songwriter Jackie Venson attributes the fiercely loyal fan base she has built to a mindset guided by a cosmic reckoning: “From the beginning, I refused to accept limitations.The universe is boundless. No finite human is going to tell me what I am capable of.”
It’s an ethos that has served her well, second only to her talent and creative spir-it. In 2011, the Austin, Texas native graduated from the esteemed Berklee College of Music majoring in piano and music theory, only to decide she wanted to focus on playing guitar. Eight years later she was voted “Best Guitarist in Austin”—a city teeming with ace guitar slingers. No limits, indeed!
Jackie takes the same unrestrained approach to her music, having released dozens of singles, EPs, live and studio albums across genres ranging from rock and soul to synth pop and DJ remixes. As a reigning DIY Queen who has booked tours all over the US and Europe, she wasn’t about to let the restrictions of a global pandemic stop her. Instead of being confi ned by the coronavirus, Venson actually grew her followers and fans by performing in daily live streams on every digital platform available. Any place a browser or device could connect her music to listeners, Jackie was there with a big smile, down-to-earth charm, smoldering voice, and guitar shredding mastery.
In 2021, Jackie made her first straight-up blues album, Love Transcends; her newest, Unplug the Machine, comes out in the Spring of 2022. It features piano and acoustic renditions of songs from her acclaimed Vintage Machine EP. Jackie says that despite her prolific output she’s in no rush to continually produce new records. “Mu-sic needs time. Time to sink in, to form impressions, to be internalized.” We spoke with the Austin native about fi ve of her favourite places to play music and eat at home and abroad.
This is my favorite place to play. Not just because of the people who run the club—they are great—but I love being a part of the tradition, helping to carry on what has made Antone’s so unique and special to Austin. The club has always strived for diversity in the bookings and shows, ever since opening their doors over 40 years ago.
I’m a burger girl, a cheeseburger girl, but it needs to be a very specific kind of burger—the old-fashioned, classic, drive-in burger. Dan’s, an Austin landmark since 1973, is my go-to for a non-fast-food made-to-order burger in a great retro burger joint atmosphere.
CEDAR CULTURAL CENTER, MINNEAPOLIS
When I announced I’d be playing here, my Minneapolis fans let me know right away they loved this place. It’s in the best part of the city, in the midst of places and people representing cultures from all over the world. It’s a non-profi t and the people who run it are so nice, the stage and the sound are incredible—and the green room!!—it’s wacky and amazing, it’s huge and comfortable. You can just chill out in there and they’ll bring in food from one of the restaurants nearby.
DOWNTOWN BLUES CLUB, HAMBURG GERMANY
This place is so fun to play. It’s the ultimate German experience, everything in one place. There’s a beer garden right outside with local beers on tap—it’s a great area to walk around exploring, come back, eat, drink, play for the happy, drinking, schnitzel-eating Germans!
JV’S MEXICAN FOOD, SAN DIEGO CALIFORNIA
San Diego is my favorite city on Earth! It’s right on the beach, it’s by the border, the weather…what more could you want? I don’t even remember how I found JV’s. I said I want some real Mexican food, and someone brought me to this nondescript little corner of shops on the corner of a street—you can barely see it. This tiny place with this huge menu—choose anything, it will be great.
Watch videos of Jackie Venson here!
Photo credit: Ismael Quintanilla III