Eclectic Music Ashland Oregon
Grammy-Award Winning Singer/Songwriter
Janis Ian plays live music Ashland Oregon. Janis was just 13 when she published her first song in Broadside Magazine. At age 14, she wrote the song that charted her life’s course, a song that Arlene Levinson of the Associated Press described as “a white teenager indicting America for its racism and hypocrisy.” “Society’s Child” rocked the nation at a time when the Supreme Court had yet to repeal the laws against interracial marriage, and when civil rights unrest was cresting. It was banned across the country by radio stations as “subversive”, a position that was later reversed when the brilliant composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein became Janis’ most vocal supporter. The song went to #1 and the teenager was suddenly hanging out with Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, appearing on television shows, and getting hate mail. In 2001, “Society’s Child” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, which honors recordings considered timeless and important to music history.
A few years later, she had given most of her money away to friends and charities, and was considered a “has-been.” With the tenacity and perseverance that would see her through four decades as an artist, she staged her first “comeback” with what would be become a classic anthem for disaffected teenagers “At Seventeen.” Not only did the song win Ian two Grammys, selling over a million copies; it led to a seven-year period of unbridled success that gave her #1 records in every Western country. The “has-been” was suddenly in demand as the first musical guest on the inaugural broadcast of Saturday Night Live, the first pop artist to play the Sydney Opera House. Ian used her new-found popularity to challenge social trends by daring to appear in pants on The Tonight Show.
Shortly after her time in the spotlight, Janis Ian disappeared for what would turn out to be almost 10 years. When she moved to Nashville in 1988, she began writing songs for other artists such as Bette Midler, whose cover of “Some People’s Lives” was the title track of the album, selling over 2 million copies worldwide.
Her next dramatic comeback in 1993 was with “Breaking Silence”, a tour de force that not only earned her a ninth Grammy nomination, but announced her sexual orientation to the world. She began talking openly of her lesbianism on controversial radio and TV shows like Howard Stern, and became a champion for issues of the 90’s like spousal abuse and AIDS.
The label that released “Breaking Silence” went under, so Ian formed her own label as an independent artist, met the love of her life, bought a big, old rambling house and continued doing what she does best…writing great songs. In between, she somehow became a brilliant guitarist, lauded by none other than Chet Atkins; turned into a prose writer of uncommon depth and humor as monthly columnist for both The Advocate and Performing Songwriter; began writing short stories (every single one published), culminating in the Stars anthology; released her autobiography to rave reviews, and fulfilled her lifelong dream of being a “sideman” by playing all the acoustic guitar parts on Angela Aki’s album “Life”.
Presented by St Claire Productions
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 8pm
Tickets: $25/advance, $28/door, $10/teens 12–17,
children under 12 are free with paying adult.
Unitarian Fellowship, 4th and C Streets, Ashland