Review: Ally Venable Band w/ Eric Heideman

Ally Venable made her Salt Lake City debut by rockin’ the blues for an enthusiastic crowd at The State Room on Friday, August 18, 2023. With no visible setlist, she seamlessly launched a dozen piercing blues numbers. Veneble’s superior guitar skills and powerful blues vocals rolled our socks down.

The 24 year-old East Texas guitar slinger, accompanied by her band bassist EJ Bedford and drummer Isaac Pulido opened with “Real Gone,” the title track from her latest album. The hard-driving rock number set the pace for the evening. Early in her set she reworked the classic Bill Withers song “Use Me.” She kept the ‘72 funky soul beat, but took the song on a fresh, new rockin’ blues journey. 

She kicked our ass with her high-octane song, appropriately titled, “Kick Your Ass,” before melting our hearts with “Comfort in My Sorrow,” a slow-blues number she wrote at age 15. The song lyrically blended her teen angst with an old-soul blues melody. That performance was definitely a highlight of the night.  What an impressive achievement!  I mean, when I was 15-years old, I was still learning how to roll a joint or build a bird feeder in woodshop; nevermind writing a masterfully constructed blues song.

She then hit us with “Broken and Blue” and “Texas Louisiana,” two standout songs from her new record. She ended her set with a chillingly beautiful instrumental number titled “Tribute to SRV,” her homage to Stevie Ray Vaughn, whose music influenced her decision to play the blues. For her encore she continued her salute to Texas blues masters with her ripping version of Freddie King’s 1971 “Going Down.” Venable and her band owned the room all night with their well-orchestrated and finely executed show.

Salt Lake City bluesman Eric Heideman opened the evening with a solo performance. He started us off with “Slow Water,” an original, yet old-school styled slide guitar blues number he played on a sweet Gretsch Honey Dipper metal resonator that delivered a big sound. He also played “Howlin’ Wind” from his new album Third Degree Gravity. He grabbed his locally made guitar (from Mid-Valley Guitar Gallery) and rocked out “I Didn’t Do it,” a great new song he recorded with Grammy-nominated blues pianist Victor Wainwright. In all, Heideman launched half-a-dozen original compositions to whet our appetite. With three full-length albums to his credit he is developing a growing catalog of great modern blues songs. Don’t miss a chance to catch him when he plays around town. His next performance is at Haglund Ranch, a hidden gem out in Murray, on Saturday, August 26, 2023. 

Venable is one of a growing number of amazing women who are taking blues music to new heights in the 21st century. Many thanks to Utah Blues Society for helping to bring these wonderful players to Salt Lake City.  

Seeing such amazing talent up close in an intimate space is something to cherish. I often feel so privileged when I leave The State Room. I can’t wait to see Danielle Nicole, a multi-award winning bassist and blues singer, who will grace The State Room stage with her band on Wednesday, September 6, 2023. Here’s a little teaser video of Nicole and Venable on stage together In Kansas City playing “Going Down.” Life Elevated!

Who: Ally Venable Band w/ Eric Heideman

Where: The State Room

When: Friday, August 18, 2023


Ally Venable is one of the many women rockin’ the blues, see who else The State Room is bringing to Salt Lake here!

John Nelson
John Nelson
John Nelson covers the local music scene for Salt Lake magazine. He is a 20-year veteran of Uncle Sam’s Flying Circus with a lifelong addiction to American roots music, live music venues, craft beer and baseball.

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