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Heart still pounding out hits

Nancy Wils(left) Ann WilsHeart

Nancy Wilson (left), and Ann Wilson of Heart

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Special guest: Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience

Ravinia Festival, 418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park

7:30 p.m. July 29, gates open 5 p.m.

Reserved $70-$90, Lawn $33 (lawn tickets are an additional $5 the day of the show) or (847) 266-5100

Updated: August 28, 2013 6:02AM

Newly inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Heart is one of the legends of the hard rock genre.

Fronted by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, a pair that has been writing, recording, and performing for almost four decades, Heart has released 14 studio albums and mega-hits like “Magic Man,” “Crazy on You,” “Barracuda,” “Kick It Out, Straight On,” and “These Dreams.”

Heart performs at Ravinia July 29, a stop on its “Heartbreaker Tour.” Lead vocalist of Heart, Seattle-based Ann Wilson, 63, spoke about her career in music.

Q: Your music is hard-rock based, driven by riffs, your own amazing vocals, a voice perfect for rock. Without your voice, Heart might not have been viable. What steered your music to its primarily hard rock format and how might your lead vocals have influenced that decision?

A: Back in the ’70s, most women in music sang disco music or folk music. I don’t know why that is, but maybe because rock music is aggressive, it’s rough on your body, it’s a sexual commentary as well. For me, singing rock and roll came naturally, but it jerked other people’s heads, you know, because I didn’t bother to change the genders around, just sang it straight, loud and high. I just sang about ‘it.’

Q: Your sister Nancy’s prowess on guitar also made Heart a ground-breaking rock band, fronted by two sisters who led vocally and instrumentally. Did you realize how influential you would be to both rock music in general and to aspiring female musicians?

A: Any time we realized how inspiring we would be is way too objective, we were never that objective. We always just wanted to play together and collaborate together, like we did in our parents’ house when we lived together. We would stand on our two little beds and play guitar together one to the other, and that’s how we grew up. So I think that’s really what we had in mind. We wanted to continue and to expand it. We were lucky to meet the rest of the guys in Vancouver to back us. It was really good.

Q: How has the song writing process changed for you over the years, and are your songs mainly inspired by your own experiences?

A: Absolutely, I mean, the song writing for the new album, “Fanatic,” is pushing a new level — songs other than personal experiences, there’s some world view things on there. Outside of singing, song writing is my favorite form of communication. And it’s easier now (to work on with Nancy), as we have a tried and true method, ways to send things back and forth that we didn’t have before, over the phone and online.

Q: What can we expect at the concert July 29 at Ravinia?

A: Jason Bonham (son of the late John Bonham, drummer for Led Zeppelin) will open the show with his Led Zeppelin Experience band, then we do our Heart show, will play a good mixture of our material, then we come back together for a finale (tribute to the music of Led Zeppelin).

Q: Is rock and roll the “fountain of youth” as someone recently posted on your Facebook page?

A: No, I don’t think it’s a fountain of youth (laughing), but it is a powerful thing to present, and a way to accept yourself — and there’s nothing better.

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