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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
“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.
Celebrating Our Years Together Tour
Janis is planning her final tour of the US, the Celebrating Our Years Together 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.
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!