Multiple Grammy Award Winning Artist, Songwriter and Musician
Celebrating a lifetime in music
Author: Steve Wilkison
Janis Ian Donates Personal Archives To Berea College
From Janis: “Extremely happy about this!”
Multiple Grammy Award winning recording artist, songwriter and musician Janis Ian has donated her entire archives, along with her father’s 1937 Martin D-19, to Berea College’s Special Collections and Archives at Hutchins Library, where they will be made available for viewing and study in the future.
Visitors to the Berea College Special Collections and Archives will be able to view Ian’s correspondence with other musical artists, famous friends and collaborators, while flipping through song notebooks, diaries and a journal that includes Ian’s first poem, written at age 10.
Not only will fans around the globe be able to view memorabilia and materials from her decades-long career; they’ll be able to support efforts to preserve, catalog, digitize and display the priceless items at Berea and eventually in an online archive. Ian and Berea College are jointly establishing a fund to preserve the legacy of her career in perpetuity.
While many artists have received significant amounts of money for turning over their archives, The Janis Ian Archives are entirely different – Ian’s belief in Berea College is so strong that she has donated all materials without compensation. Her only stipulation is that records remain open to the public, not just academic researchers. To learn more about the Janis Ian Archives Fund or to donate, visit the Berea College website.
Janis’ latest album, The Light At The End Of The Line, has been nominated for Best Folk Album in the 2023 Grammy Awards.
From Janis: “This is full circle for me: my first Grammy nomination ever was in 1967, also for ‘Best Folk Album’. This marks my tenth nomination, in eight different categories. It’s a bittersweet moment, given everything that’s happened this year with my ability to vocalize – but a grand one. Gratitude to everyone who participated in this completely independent piece of work, and thanks to all my colleagues for nominating me!!”
New Product Now Available
We’re happy to announce that we now have signed vinyl copies of Janis’ newest album, the Grammy nominated The Light At The End Of The Line. There is also a special, CD bundle of The Light at the End of the Line and a brand new, remastered, definitive version of Janis’ Grammy Award winning album Between The Lines.
World Cafe Rebroadcast
Thanks to World Cafe for their continued support! World Cafe will re-air my exclusive performance starting Friday, June 10 on over 250 radio stations worldwide.
It is with deep regret and not a few tears that I have to announce the postponement of my upcoming St. Louis and Nashville shows. The consensus is that despite best efforts, there is no way my laryngitis will clear up in time, and I can’t run the risk of potentially devastating injury to my vocal cords.
These two shows were supposed to wrap up my final spring tour; both places are very special to me – the Sheldon is among the best crews in the world, it’s where I shot my only live DVD, and coincidentally where my tour manager of fifteen years and I first met one another. The CMA Theater is something I watched grow from its beginning, and of course, I was a Nashville resident for 33 years. I’ve supported CMA every step of the way, from dragging out-of-towners to their old building and having the idea to give locals a financial break when we brought guests, to donating an ancient Philco upright radio Chet Atkins had worked on with me, along with all my music and theater books.
Again, both shows are being postponed. We’re already researching fall dates with the theaters. I promise, we will announce the new dates as soon as possible.
Thanks to everyone for your good thoughts and understanding. I haven’t dealt with laryngitis like this since my teens… I suppose the odds were running against me. Doesn’t make it any easier, and believe me, I feel worse about it than anyone else. Again my apologies.
Special thanks to both theater’s staffs for being so understanding, and to Wayno and Piraro for allowing me to continue posting their cartoons.
Janis On World Cafe
From Janis: My 5-song exclusive performance with World Cafe begins airing on Tuesday, March 8 at 2:00PM EST on over 250 radio stations worldwide. Visit World Cafe on the NPR website to find your local station or tune in to WXPN Radio online and choose ‘Listen Live’ from the drop-down at the top of the page.
More Tickets Added For McCabe’s Master Class
Due to extreme demand we have opened more seats for the Master Class at McCabe’s in Santa Monica, CA on Sunday, March 13th. Though the event was previously listed as sold out, you can now buy tickets once again. Master Classes include performances.
Janis Ian has given master classes in both conventional and unconventional settings, always with an eye to passing on the legacy a five-decade-career has allowed her to experience. Although originally geared toward actors, musicians, and writers, the classes have also been used by classes in nursing, music industry accounting and management, and general audience members. In the recent past, she has worked with Berklee College of Music, The Stella Adler School, The Swannanoa Gathering, Gamble Rogers Festival, and Philadelphia Folk Festival.
Final North American Tour Begins This Weekend
Janis’ final North American tour begins this weekend with a series of break-in shows in Santa Fe, NM. Yes, it really is the last tour! There are dates all over the country (with a few more still to be announced) so no matter where you live there’s a good chance Janis will be somewhere close. Take a look at the schedule and be sure to grab some tickets.
Tickets For Nashville Show Available 2/11
Tickets go on sale for Janis’ show at the renowned Country Music Hall Of Fame and Museum’s CMA Theater in Nashville on Friday, February 11th at 10:00AM CT. The show will feature Livingston Taylor as a special guest. Janis is calling this her “final tour of the U.S.,” follows the January release of The Light at the End of the Line—her “last solo studio album” and first album of new material in fifteen years. Beginning on Friday you can purchase tickets directly from the Country Music Hall Of Fame.
We hope that you’ll buy direct from the artist through the above links and the artist will receive all the proceeds. If it’s easier, though, by all means go to Amazon or iTunes. We just want the music out there.
Conversations With My Wife – An album, a bra, and supply chain conspiracies
Pat: Where are you going? Janis: To work. <pause> Pat: Where are you working? Janis: In my workspace. Pat: So, you’re going downstairs. Janis: Yes. Pat <confused>: Why are you wearing a bra to go downstairs? Janis: It’s Record Release Day. First album in 15 years! I’m celebrating my fabulousness. Pat: By wearing a bra? Janis: I always wear a bra when I Go To Work. Pat: Because… Janis: Um… <pause> Janis <triumphantly>: Because I’m At Work. And At Work, I wear a bra. <silence> Pat: I thought the album came out last year? Janis: So did I. These past two years really got smeared together, didn’t they? In real time, it’s out today. In all digital formats. And for those of us who don’t trust The Cloud, physical CDs are available in local stores everywhere but Europe, the UK, Ireland, Australia, Japan, and Ittoqqortoormiit. Pat: Why can’t I buy a CD if I’m in Ittoqqortoormiit? That’s discrimination! Janis: Blame the supply chain disruptions. Can’t even get vinyl until August. Pat <darkly>: Sounds like a conspiracy to me. Janis: Only because you’re paying attention. Pat: If I lived in Europe, I would want to play it in my CD player while I drove to work. Janis <patiently>: No one drives to work in Europe. They take the train. Pat: Still. I would want a CD. Janis: We haven’t gotten them through yet. Hopefully soon. Pat: Wait! I could order from your website! Support the artist by buying direct! Drive up sales!! Janis: Pat, you already have a copy. Pat: I do? I only have the one that came out last year. <silence> Pat <excited>: Janis, if enough people bought the album and bundles from your website, we could get you a #1 record! Janis <still patient>: No one is tracking my website sales. And shipping overseas is ruinously expensive. We can’t even get anything through to Australia right now. They say it’s our postal system, we say it’s their postal system… Pat <darkly>: Sounds like another conspiracy to me. Janis <cheerfully>: Back to the 60’s!! Conspiracies and protest songs! Folk music! Eclectic solos! Be the first on your block! Pat: You really are determined that this is your swansong? You’ll never make another solo studio album? Janis: Nope. Pat: That’s ridiculous. This is what you do. Janis: Nope. What I do is write, and be creative. What I’m doing is going out on tour for the next eleven months – Pat: – while wearing a bra. Janis: Yes, but only when I Go To Work!
Written by Jim Farber, and titled “Janis Ian Lets Her Music Speak Her Mind (One Last Time), the article takes a deep dive into not only the new album but Janis’ history and impact on a wide range of social and musical subjects as well. Here’s a quick preview and you can read the entire article online at the New York Times website. (Note that you may have to open a free account there to read the article.)
“On a recent morning, Janis Ian spoke expansively from her work space in Florida about a 50-year career marked by literary lyrics, social activism and major hits. Just one subject brought her up short. When pondering younger artists who’ve publicly cited her as an inspiration, she paused and threw up her arms. “I can’t think of one. So many people say, ‘Joni Mitchell is my big influence,’” she said. “And I thought, wait a minute. Didn’t I influence anybody?”
“She might not get the loudest shout-outs, but there’s no denying that Ian has often served as a cultural clairvoyant.
“In 1967, she became one of the first fully self-determined female singer-songwriters in pop, having penned every track on her debut album, which was released one month before Laura Nyro’s, a year before Joni Mitchell’s and three before Carole King’s.”
From Janis: “Better Times Will Come” was written the day after John Prine died, the only 3-chord song I’ve ever done. It turned into an enormous project featuring artists from 16 countries, singing and signing in 16 different languages. My original version was just sung into my phone, voice only.
When I recorded it for this album, I wanted my part to stay true to that first version, but then grow into something broader. I called Viktor Krauss, my favorite bass player, and asked him to co-produce something that would “show the times we’ve been living through”. We went through our mental Rolodexes, enlisting friends like Diane Schuur and Vince Gill, Jim Hoke and John Cowan. The direction to the players was “Don’t hold back!” and that’s just what we got.
For me, this piece illustrates the arc of fear, isolation, hope, relief, and then return to fear we keep going through as we deal with Covid-19. It’s also a tribute to my fellow artists, as we continue to do our work, offering audiences an escape and a bit of joy, even as we watched our own professions disintegrate under the weight of it all. “Better Times Will Come” is available now on your preferred digital music service or as a digital download from the official Janis Ian Store. Sheet music is also available in the official Janis Ian Store.
You can find it on my last solo studio album, The Light at the End of the Line, coming January 21. You can also pre-order merch or pre-save the album wherever you get your music these days.
From Janis: “Summer is my favorite time to be in New York. Despite the heat and humidity, there’s a hum to the city you don’t find any other time of year. Chess and congas, ice cream vendors and free outdoor concerts… it’s magical. Growing up in New Jersey, spending time in the city during the summer months was always a highlight. By the way, this was the very first video Carol Waechter, whose video of “Resist” has garnered so much press attention, ever created!”
Janis Ian: Vocal, piano Randy Leago: Clarinet
Conversations With My Wife – Chocolates
Janis: What are you doing? Pat: Packing Christmas gifts. Janis: What happened to Chanukah? Pat: If you’ll spell it right, I’ll tell you. Janis: I am NOT spelling it without the kchekch sound. Pat: Omigod I can almost HEAR that spelling! Janis : Do you like it? I had to make it up. Everyone around here kept telling me to have a happy Chinookah… Pat: It sounds like you’re trying to cough up a hairball. Gracie Mae: Ewwwwww… (Yes we know dogs can’t say that, but you should see the look on her face.) Janis: Is there any chocolate left? Pat: Yes. Two extra packages. Janis: Can I have one? Pat: No. Janis: Can I have one please? Pat: No. Janis: Can I have one pretty-please-I’m-so-tired-I’ve-been-working-all-day-for-the-good-of-this-family-and-I-desperately-need-chocolate please? Pat: No. Janis: You are so mean!! Pat: No I’m not. I’m practical. Janis: How is withholding chocolate from me practical?! Pat: If someone suddenly brings us a Christmas gift, we’ll be able to reciprocate right away, just as though we’d already thought about them. Janis: But there will be no card. Pat: Already thought of it. See, each of these has a generic card attached. All I have to do is say “Just a second, let me get yours!”, run into my office, write their name on the card, and voila! Janis: Just make sure you don’t use a fountain pen. You’ll have to wait for the ink to dry. Janis: There is still chocolate, Pat. I can see it. Pat: I swear, sometimes living with you is like living with a child. Janis: I am supposed to remain childlike. I Am An Artist. Pat: Child-LIKE is different from child-ISH. Janis: There is nothing childish about wanting chocolate, Pat. Besides, it’s good for you! All the current studies say so. Pat: Current studies also say staying underweight increases your life span. Which do you want to go with? Janis: Right now? Chocolate. Pat: No. These are for guests. Janis: We never have guests. Pat: Possibly because we never have anything to offer them because you eat all the chocolate. Janis: Do not! Pat: Do too! Janis: Do not! Pat: Do too! Janis: You do know that IF I had chocolate, and IF I ate it all right now, I wouldn’t be tempted tomorrow because there would be none left in the house. Janis: And therefore it would be much easier for me to stay on my diet through the holidays, because there would be no chocolate in the house. Janis: And you would be doing me a great favor if I could eat it all now and get rid of it… Think of the karmic value to your next life, such an unselfish act! Pat: Oh for gosh sake, here. Take the chocolate! Janis: Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou. Janis: These are very small pieces, Pat. Pat: I know. Janis: Extremely small. Pat: Yes, extremely small. Janis: I would swear they were bigger when I was a kid. Pat: You’re probably right. Then again, it’s all about perspective. You were a lot smaller when you were a kid. Maybe they just looked bigger. Janis: Well, yes, I am taller now. Pat: Not by much. Pat: You don’t have to eat them, you know. Janis: Yes I do. They were a present from my wife. It would be terribly ungracious of me not to eat them. Pat: That’s you all right. Miss Gracious. Janis: You are correct! I learned to be gracious living in the South!! Pat: Can I have one? Janis: No. They are mine. Pat: So much for being gracious. Janis: I AM being gracious. I am going to eat them in the other room, as I write you a thank you card. Pat: Sometimes, Janis, I despair. Really, I despair.
“Resist” Now Available
In the fifteen years since my last full release album, so much has changed — and yet, here we are, still fighting many of the same battles. If “At Seventeen” was released today and needed a follow up, I’d hope “Resist” would be it. You can listen and purchase it now at any of your favorite music services. Sheet music is also available in the Janis Ian Store.
Conversations With My Wife – They Shoot Singles, Don’t They?
Scene: Janis leaning out a living room window, casting invisible items into the open air. Pat enters the room. Action. Pat: What are you doing?! I thought we’d agreed you’re too old for Peter Pan to show up and teach you to fly. Get back from there, it’s dangerous! Janis: I’m throwing my single out into the open air. <Makes throwing gestures.> Janis: Fly, little single! Fly! Be free! Pat: There’s a new single? Why don’t I have an autographed copy for my collection? Janis: Your “collection” is entirely too big as it is. Pat <virtuously>: I have every single Janis Ian 8-track ever made. Every. Single. One. Autographed. Why don’t I have a signed copy of this single? Janis: It’s a digital single. <silence> Janis: Not physical. Digital. Pat: That’s silly. How could you play it in a jukebox? Janis: You use a virtual jukebox. Pat: Nonsense. If it’s not a CD how will I play it in my car? Janis: Your car still has a CD player? <silence> Janis: The point is that I have an album coming out — Pat: — yes, I know, I had to eat TV dinners for three months because of it — Janis: — and I’m releasing the second single today — Pat: — not to mention tuna noodle casserole which even I got tired of after a while. <silence> Janis: It’s good I was out of the house for that. Really, if God had meant us to eat warmed over tuna, he’d have spawned them in microwaves. Pat: You just don’t appreciate the finer things in life. Janis: Yes, well, back to me, I’m releasing my single into the open air, and asking the universe to listen. Pat: What song is it? Janis: “Resist.” Pat: You can’t release “Resist.” Not into the open air. People will hear it. Janis: That’s kind of the point. Pat: No no no. That’s a dangerous song, Janis. It talks about sex. And feminism. Graphic stuff you wouldn’t be allowed to teach in normal high schools, let alone in Texas. Janis <pulling her head out of the window>: What is that weird smell? Pat: Probably your imagination. Go back to “Resist.” Why on earth would you put that out? Why not something safe, like “Baby Shark?” I thought your a cappella rendition was very moving. Janis: No, it has to be “Resist.” Also, I think it’s one of the best songs I’ve ever written. Pat: Nevertheless. Janis Ian singing “I cannot be your virgin and I will not be your whore.” Really?! Janis <annoyed>: Really! What’s wrong with that? Pat: I don’t know, I kind of liked the idea of you still being a virgin. Of sorts. Janis: At seventy? Pat: I did say “Of sorts”…. <longer silence> Pat: Wait, what do you mean, you’re releasing a single? You need a record company to release a record. Janis: I have a record company. Pat: You have a record company? Why did I not know this? Janis: I started Rude Girl Records back in 2012. Remember? Pat: I do not remember…. Boy, if you’d told me you owned a whole record company… <silence> Pat: Wait a minute. Doesn’t that mean I also own a record company? <silence> Janis: I believe I’ll go make dinner now. Pat: Don’t bother. I’ve got a tuna noodle casserole in the oven.
The Light At The End Of The Line is now available for pre-order. Pre-order the album and exclusive bundles (including signed items!) from the “official store” for delivery on or before the album’s January 21, 2022 release date, or pre-order/pre-save from your preferred digital music service. Showing your support by pre-ordering the album goes a long way.
Janis is planning her final tour of the US, The Last Tour, with dates starting in February 2022 and running through November. Her tours have sold out in every country she’s visited, and this one will likely follow. More information about the shows can be found on the Tour Dates page.
Free Download of “A Thousand Years”
Free download!!! Janis’ old friend Shirley Cason has created a beautiful arrangement of “A Thousand Years”, the holiday song Janis wrote with Russ Taff. Enjoy this free holiday gift!
Tremendously excited to announce I have a new album coming out on January 21, 2022! A “swan song” of sorts, The Light at the End of the Line will be my first full release since 2006. There’s even a single, “I’m Still Standing,” out now. You can listen and purchase it now at any of your favorite music services. I’ve spent a lifetime of writing trying to live up to the talent I was born with. Hopefully, I’ve finally managed it. Sheet music is also available in the Janis Ian Store.
Conversations With My Wife – What New Album?
Pat: What are all these boxes? Janis: My new album. Pat: You made a new album? Janis: Yes. Didn’t you notice? Pat: I thought dinner was suspiciously late a few times… <silence> Pat: It’s a real album? Janis <sighs>: It’s a “real” album. Pat: So I can buy it on CD? Janis: Yes. You and twelve other people. The rest can download it. Pat <doubtfully>: How is it I didn’t know about this? Janis: You were busy being retired and doing jigsaw puzzles. Pat: But surely I would have noticed that you were writing a lot! Janis <reasonably>: Why would you notice? I still cooked us a real meal every day. Pat: Hey, I made tuna fish casserole! Twice!! Janis: Like I said, a real meal. Pat <musing>: I DID notice you were talking to yourself more than usual. Janis <irritated>: That’s called “writing” and “thinking”, Pat. Not “talking to myself”. Pat <also irritated>: Uh-huh. Like when you’re playing computer solitaire and tell me you’re just “letting the back of your brain work”. <silence> Janis: I think it’s the best album I’ve ever made.
Pat <looking at a CD>: The cover’s black and white. Janis: Yes, the front and back are both black and white. Pat: Couldn’t we afford color? <silence> Pat: I’m glad you finally took my advice and recorded “I’m Still Standing” on a real album. But “Resist”… that’s going to land you back in Facebook jail. Honestly, I’ve already bailed you out seven times. And what if they jail all the musicians with you? My credit card has a limit, you know! Janis: It’s mostly acoustic, just me. <silence> Pat: Couldn’t we afford musicians? Janis <sighing>: Why don’t you just listen to the album, and I can get some other work done? <Pat leaves the room, CD in hand. Hours pass. She re-enters the kitchen as Janis is preparing dinner.> Janis: What’s wrong? Why are you crying?! Pat: It’s just so sad, Janis! Janis: That’s your reaction to my first album of new songs in fifteen years? Jeez, I’m really living up to my reputation for depression. Pat: No, I just listened to the title song. You know, “The Light at the End of the Line.” Janis: Yes, I know that one… Pat: And then there was “Better Times Will Come”. Which really shocked me, I have to tell you. Honestly, it shocked me almost as much as when you decided to put “Baby Shark” in your live shows. <silence> Pat: I mean, it’s a FOLK song. Why is there a Dixieland Band? Why is a country artist like Vince Gill on it? And could we not afford to give Diane Schuur some lyrics? Janis: That’s called “scatting”. There are no lyrics. Pat <sitting down>: Honey, we need to have a family meeting. <Janis sits down.> Pat: Sweetheart. I know the past couple of years have been hard. I know you’ve been feeling isolated and cut off from other artists, and I know you’ve been depressed. But we have savings. We could afford a color photograph. <long silence> Janis: <sigh> Okay, I’m going to explain it in depth this one time, because I love you and I don’t want you to worry. The black and white exterior represents the monochromatic world we’ve been forced to live in as a result of Covid isolation and the political maneuvering social media has created and magnified. The front cover, of me at seventy, represents the wisdom age and hindsight bring, as reflected by the daring use of first takes and empty space on many of the album cuts. The back cover, of me at sixteen, represents youth reflecting upon itself and its place in the world – Pat: – or just being a whiney 16-year-old – Janis: – while the inside artwork, in full color, represents the possibility of change, the hope of recovery, and the certainty that there are, indeed, better times ahead. The use of artists who practice in different genres indicates my willingness to accept and embrace global unity, while at the same time remaining true to my own inner and outer voices, which speak clearly through a backdrop of equal parts illusion and definition. The album as a whole is an arc, not just of almost 60 years as a professional songwriter and musician, but of the world at large as we encounter the unknown, dissolve into fear, despair, begin to hope, feel triumphant, are knocked down by the unknown again, dissolve into fear and despair, and on and on. The end of the album assumes that the universe is circular, entropy continues, and things will forever be falling apart, then rising, only to fall again. Much like the phoenix of old. <pause> Pat: Well, that seems simple enough. <longer pause> Pat: I still think you could have given Deedles some lyrics instead of forcing her to make them up. That’s just not right. Janis: Well, I cut corners where I could…
Stay tuned for 2022 tour dates and more information!
2022 Tour Dates
Janis’ last full North American tour will begin in late February, just after the release of her final solo studio album The Light At The End Of The Line, with a series of “break-in shows” at George R. R. Martin’s Jean Cocteau Theatre in Santa Fe. The tour will continue throughout 2022 and cover most of the United States and Canada. For more information visit the Tour Dates section of the website.
Pearl Foundation Update
Astonished and grateful to say that the Pearl Foundation has donated $44,000 in scholarship endowments for the year 2020, bringing our grand total to $1,235,500.00 in scholarship funding, with more than 75 graduates to date. Thank you all for your support!
The Better Times Project has a new, dedicated website
The Better Times Project has a new home. When this project first started, back in April, there were just a handful of artists contributing. Now there are almost 150. As the project began to grow the decision was made to create a new website for everything. We hope you like the new home. You can listen to all of the different versions of “Better Times Will Come” and watch all the videos. You can also download the songs, sheet music, lyrics, coloring pages and more. Visit the new site and let us know what you think.