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Nancy Wilson of Heart's Roadcase Royale at The Palace, 5 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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It’s a kind of best of times/worst of times period for Nancy Wilson.

On one hand Heart, the guitarist’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted group is on indefinite hiatus due to an estrangement with older sister and bandmate Ann Wilson after Ann’s husband Dean Wetter was arrested, and subsequently convicted, for assaulting Nancy’s 16-year-old twin sons backstage at a Heart show in suburban Seattle. But on the other hand Nancy has launched Roadcase Royale, a new band that includes other members of Heart along with Liv Warfield from Prince’s New Power Generation band and her guitarist Ryan Waters.

Roadcase Royale has just released its debut album, “First Things First,” which includes remakes of Heart’s “Even It Up” and “These Dreams,” and it’s playing its first big tour opening up for Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band into November...

• Wilson, 63, met Warfield and Waters when their band Blackbird opened for Heart in 2015, which led to a discussion about working together and subsequently to Roadcase Royale after due to the Heart problems. “That’s something we actually followed up on which most people never do,” Wilson says by phone from her home in California. “They say, ‘We should get together’ and it never happens, but in our case it was kind of exciting and we really wanted to put something forward. We became fast friends right off the bat. When we got together just to see how it would go, we just hit it off so fast and we all, as pretty experienced musicians, we knew how to just throw a song in the ring and work on it and make it happen.”

• Wilson says Roadcase Royale’s sound comes from mutual regard she and Warfield had for each other’s styles. “She was like, ‘I want to rock more,’ and I was like, ‘Well, I like the R&B stuff you do,’” Wilson recalls. “So I got my guys, she brought her guitar player and we started rehearsing and right off the bat it was amazing. We started creating new songs and finding kind of a sound for ourselves and we fell naturally together with the sort of rock ‘n’ soul ethic that both of us needed from the other. I think the sound is really formulated a lot on this album, not that we’re done kind of sound. We have our own sort of genres inside our genres.”

• Recording the Heart songs for the album, meanwhile, gave Roadcase Royale a chance to include some known material in its repertoire while building its own reputation. “I don’t mind leaning a little bit on Heart just to get our feet wet,” Wilson acknowledges, “and to get a foothold going for this new band. That’s the only thing I want to do more than anything else, and I’ll work my ass off to get this thing going.”

• Opening for Seger (the spot was initially offered to Heart, according to Wilson) gives Roadcase Royale a chance to play its biggest shows yet and Wilson an opportunity to renew an old acquaintance. “There was a time, I think one of his big album release parties, some big city somewhere probably in the late 70s, I guess, way back in the mists of time,” she recalls. “We were there and we were making the scene and Bob Seger asked me to dance at this great big sort of ballroom place. So I danced with Bob Seger and he was a very nice, very sweet man. It was sweet and it was kind of a thrill ‘cause he’s an incredible artist and he’s written some really good songs. I think we match up well.”

• Heart, meanwhile, remains stopped, and Wilson doesn’t see that changing any time soon. “I don’t really seem to have much dialogue with my sister any more -- she doesn’t write, she doesn’t call...and that’s fine with me,” she says. “If down the line we kind of restore our relationship a little bit and put a little work into that, that’s one thing. But for right now (Roadcase Royale) is what I’m doing. I’m ready to just do this new thing now and not look back.”

If You Go:

• Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band and Nancy Wilson of Heart’s Roadcase Royale

• 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23

• The Palace of Auburn Hills, Lapeer Road at I-75.

• Some tickets are still available.

Call 248-377-0100 or visit palacenet.com

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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