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  • Janis Ian & producer Shadow Morton recording - photo by Gilbert for Life Magazine
  • Janis Ian & Joni Mitchell backstage - photo by Peter Cunningham
  • Janis Ian & Odetta - photo by Peter Cunningham
  • Janis Ian & Steve Goodman 01 - photo by Peter Cunningham
  • Janis Ian & Steve Goodman 02 - photo by Peter Cunningham
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  • Janis Ian with Bruce Springsteen, radio personality Ed Sciaky, & Billy Joel backstage at the Academy of Music, Philadelphia - photo by Peter Cunningham
  • Janis Ian, Mary Black, & Joan Baez backstage at Joan's show - photo by Joe Bangay
  • Janis Ian with the Abfab girls, backstage at the Royal Albert
Strictly SoloHunger

Seaching for America

Janis Ian

They herded us like so much meat
up from the sewers to the street
where concrete canyons stretched their walls
so high it made us want to crawl
Past proverbs writ on subway cars
and inbetween the window bars
We walked until the pavement bled
and not a curse was left unsaid

Into a place that knows no spring
Where only steel and silver sing
They made us dance until we dropped
and the music of the jackhammers finally stopped

I caught a cinder in my eye
searching for a patch of sky
but the shadows drizzed down like in Pompeii
That's how I spent my yesterday

Searching for America
in the rivets and the rust
Searching for America
Finding only dust

What did you see that made you cry
and left these trackmarks on your eye
What did you find while you were there
that sucks the light out of the morning air

They gave us each a cropper's shack
and land so hard it broke the back
Then fed us 'til our bellies burst
on promises that died at birth
So I lay the baby out each dawn
inbetween the tender corn
with sunrise for her bonnet
and flies her only blanket

We harvested until we bled
'Til every single root ran red
and when the work was finally done
they gave our names to Immigration

I did not know how bad it hurt
until I lay there eating dirt
and the cold seeped in between my bones
That's where I was when I left home

Searching for America
All her dreams and hopes
Searching for America
Finding only ghosts

Who are these people you have seen
to dream this dark and distant dream
To tell the stories you have told
To leave these bruises on your soul

They are the flesh, they are the bone
They are the very cornerstone
They leave their mansions and their shacks
to hide here inbetween the cracks
Their hope is tattooed on my lips
Bleeding from my fingertips
They are crawling toward the promised land
hand over hand

To walk until they run no more
and wash up on some distant shore
where truth is not the enemy
and whatever does not kill us, sets us free

Somewhere out there
are millions just like me
Homesick for Eden
Heartsick at the memory

Searching for America
in every stick and stone
Searching for America
Going home
Searching for America
Going home

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Tour Dates

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All tour dates updated on May 16, 2020

  • Sunday June 27 to Saturday July 3

    Swannanoa Gathering Fiddle Mando Banjo Week, Swannanoa, North Carolina, USA

    Swannanoa Gathering Fiddle Mando Banjo Week

    Swannanoa, North Carolina, USA

    Phone:

    Visit the venue's website

    For the first time, Janis will be giving her 5-day series "A Master Class In Artistry" during each of the Swannanoa Gathering weeks. The final week will also feature a second, more interactive class tentatively titled "War Stories". Time of classes is TBA; please check the  website for more information. The 5 day class covers everything from the origins of artists to physicalization, songwriting for profit and not so much, performance, the need to be brave, how to survive as an artist in the modern world, and why bother. Points are illustrated with songs and playing as she takes us on a journey that begins with the first caveman to tell a story and continues through the myth of the artist as "crazy", the need for silence, and why she believes "art saves". Drawing on her 55 years of experience in the entertainment industry and her ten years with Stella Adler, presented with humor and grace, brutally honest, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her students. 

  • Sunday July 04 to Saturday July 10

    Swannanoa Gathering Traditional Song Week, Swannanoa, North Carolina, USA

    Swannanoa Gathering Traditional Song Week

    Swannanoa, North Carolina, USA

    Phone:

    Visit the venue's website

    For the first time, Janis will be giving her 5-day series "A Master Class In Artistry" during each of the Swannanoa Gathering weeks. Time of her classes is TBA; please check the  website for more information. The 5 day class covers everything from the origins of artists to physicalization, songwriting for profit and not so much, performance, the need to be brave, how to survive as an artist in the modern world, and why bother. Points are illustrated with songs and playing as she takes us on a journey that begins with the first caveman to tell a story and continues through the myth of the artist as "crazy", the need for silence, and why she believes "art saves". Drawing on her 55 years of experience in the entertainment industry and her ten years with Stella Adler, presented with humor and grace, brutally honest, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her students. 

  • Sunday July 11 to Saturday July 17

    Swannanoa Gathering Celtic Week, Swannanoa, North Carolina, USA

    Swannanoa Gathering Celtic Week

    Swannanoa, North Carolina, USA

    Phone:

    Visit the venue's website

    For the first time, Janis will be giving her 5-day series "A Master Class In Artistry" during each of the Swannanoa Gathering weeks. Time of her classes is TBA; please check the  website for more information. The 5 day class covers everything from the origins of artists to physicalization, songwriting for profit and not so much, performance, the need to be brave, how to survive as an artist in the modern world, and why bother. Points are illustrated with songs and playing as she takes us on a journey that begins with the first caveman to tell a story and continues through the myth of the artist as "crazy", the need for silence, and why she believes "art saves". Drawing on her 55 years of experience in the entertainment industry and her ten years with Stella Adler, presented with humor and grace, brutally honest, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her students. 

  • Sunday July 18 to Saturday July 24

    Swannanoa Gathering Old Time Week, Swannanoa, North Carolina,

    Swannanoa Gathering Old Time Week

    Swannanoa, North Carolina,

    Phone:

    Visit the venue's website

    For the first time, Janis will be giving her 5-day series "A Master Class In Artistry" during each of the Swannanoa Gathering weeks. Time of her classes is TBA; please check the  website for more information. The 5 day class covers everything from the origins of artists to physicalization, songwriting for profit and not so much, performance, the need to be brave, how to survive as an artist in the modern world, and why bother. Points are illustrated with songs and playing as she takes us on a journey that begins with the first caveman to tell a story and continues through the myth of the artist as "crazy", the need for silence, and why she believes "art saves". Drawing on her 55 years of experience in the entertainment industry and her ten years with Stella Adler, presented with humor and grace, brutally honest, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her students. 

  • Sunday July 25 to Saturday July 31

    Swannanoa Gathering Cont. Folk & Guitar Week, Swannanoa, North Carolina, USA

    Swannanoa Gathering Cont. Folk & Guitar Week

    Swannanoa, North Carolina, USA

    Phone: N/A

    Visit the venue's website

    For the first time, Janis will be giving her 5-day series "A Master Class In Artistry" during each of the Swannanoa Gathering weeks. Time of her classes is TBA; please check the  website for more information. The 5 day class covers everything from the origins of artists to physicalization, songwriting for profit and not so much, performance, the need to be brave, how to survive as an artist in the modern world, and why bother. Points are illustrated with songs and playing as she takes us on a journey that begins with the first caveman to tell a story and continues through the myth of the artist as "crazy", the need for silence, and why she believes "art saves". Drawing on her 55 years of experience in the entertainment industry and her ten years with Stella Adler, presented with humor and grace, brutally honest, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her students. 

  • Thursday, August 5

    The Kate, Old Saybrook, CT

    The Kate

    Old Saybrook, CT

    Phone: (860) 510-0473

    Visit the venue's website

    Janis returns to The Kate a scant year later, at their insistence. She's sure it's too soon, they're sure it's not. She's writing furiously so she can present some new material, and looking forward to visiting one of her all-time favorite venues again! Expect some good, relaxed fun, some tears, an after-show appearance for signing things you've brought and things you may purchase at the "merch table"!!

  • August 6th

    Pearl Foundation private concert, , Massachusetts,

    Pearl Foundation private concert

    , Massachusetts,

    Phone:

    Visit the venue's website

    A private concert benefitting the Pearl Foundation.

  • Saturday, August 7

    Shalin Liu, Rockport, MA

    Shalin Liu

    Rockport, MA

    Phone: (978) 546-7391

    Visit the venue's website

    Janis has been hearing about Shalin Liu from friends for more than a decade, and it's taken this long to coordinate schedules so she could do two nights in this prestigious venue. Expect old songs, new songs, stories, and time afterward for hellos and signing whatever you bring or buy! Since she'll be there for two nights, things should get a bit more relaxed than usual - maybe an extra step out guitar solo, or an audience Q&A. Who knows?! We can promise that this ten-time-Grammy-nominee will put on a great show, with plenty of heart and soul. 8 pm show

  • Sunday, August 8

    Shalin Liu, Rockport, MA

    Shalin Liu

    Rockport, MA

    Phone: (978) 546-7391

    Visit the venue's website

    Janis has been hearing about Shalin Liu from friends for more than a decade, and it's taken this long to coordinate schedules so she could do two nights in this prestigious venue. Expect old songs, new songs, stories, and time afterward for hellos and signing whatever you bring or buy! Since she'll be there for two nights, things should get a bit more relaxed than usual - maybe an extra step out guitar solo, or an audience Q&A. Who knows?! We can promise that this ten-time-Grammy-nominee will put on a great show, with plenty of heart and soul. 8 pm start!

  • Tuesday, August 10

    Shea Theater, Turners Falls, MA

    Shea Theater

    Turners Falls, MA

    Phone: (413) 648-7432

    Visit the venue's website

    And the new venues just keep on coming! We're really excited that Janis will be playing this town-owned theater, a centerpiece of the Turner's Falls resurgence. Expect old songs, new songs, stories, and time afterward for hellos and signing whatever you bring or buy! * 8pm showtime

[full tour dates list]

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