Jackie Venson

photos by Ismael Quintanilla/Design by Christina Venson

by Jeff McCord

As a pianist finishing her final year at Boston’s Berklee School of Music, native Austinite Jackie Venson made a life-changing observation: guitar players were having a lot more fun. So in 2011, the twenty-one year old decided to learn a new instrument. To call her a quick study is an understatement. Today, widely acknowledged as one of the city’s best guitarists, with a handful of albums under her belt, she just taped her debut on the Austin City Limits television series (airing November 14 paired with an archival Bonnie Raitt performance). She has kept herself busy during the live music shutdown (which she will be discussing on an upcoming episode of our new Pause/Play podcast), writing, recording, playing virtual shows and making herself a passionate spokesperson against the music scene’s systemic racism.

Vintage Machine Album Cover Art

And she has released no fewer than four (!) albums this year; the two-volume remix series Jackie the Robot – a deeper dive into the electronic side of her music,  a live album recorded in 2018 at Greune Hall, Live in Texas. And coming out October 30th, her newest studio album, Vintage Machine. Machine’s single, “Make Me Feel”, originally slated to be released during a SXSW that never was, is vintage Venson. Taut, layered synth-pop frames her voice and vulnerable lyrics, sharpened by her smoldering, subtle guitar work.