photo by Austin Price
For Black History Month we’re turning the spotlight on several prominent black musicians both past and present whose contributions helped put Austin music on the map. KUT reporter DaLyah Jones produced these profiles for KUTX with help from Clay Shorkey of The Texas Music Museum.
Musician and vocalist Jackie Venson has already shredded her way to a throne in Austin and has arguably reminded a male-dominated music industry about the contribution of Southern black women to Blues, Soul, Rock, R&B, Country and contemporary Pop. At eight years old the Austin native, youngest of nine, began playing the piano. She was supported musically by her father – Andrew Venson, a well-known musician, who’s now retired – and her mother. Venson, who grew up playing classical piano, later attended the Berklee College of Music and drifted towards guitar. Since, Jackie has played along and opened for a roster of artists, which includes Austin-born Gary Clark, Jr. Earth Wind and Fire and Tim McGraw. She’s performed at Austin City Limits Festival, on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and other places across the country and Europe. Venson has dropped several projects since the introduction of her guitar skills on stage and she’s set to release a new album in April.
– DaLyah Jones, KUTX News
Research assistance and archival material provided by Clay Shorkey of The Texas Music Museum