Ron "Ran" Waite Wing

In Concert: Janis Ian

In Concert: Janis Ian
by Ran

  I never considered the town of Homer to be a hot-bed of cultural activity, but when I heard that Janis Ian was going to perform at the Center for the Arts in Homer, NY, on March 9, 2006--I said, "I gotta go!"  Well the Center is a big 'ol converted church, and a lovely, spacious facility (the stained glass window is beautiful).  It was the perfect venue for Janis Ian and her opening act, Jeremy Wallace.

  Jeremy has a wonderful gravely voice (similar to Tom Waits or Dr. John)--it's great for the blues.  His songs were full of imagery and humor, sung in his strong masculine voice--I really enjoyed his set.  He sang six songs before handing the stage over to Janis.

  The first words from out of this artist's mouth, when she walked on stage were, "yep, it's all down hill from here."  This diminutive musician knows her music and she's funny as well. She focused on songs from her latest CD, "Folk is the 

New Black."  She started with the first song off that CD, entitled "Danger, Danger."  In between the musical moments we were treated to some great stories, her amazing smile, and more of her witty repartee.  She told us that "I wake up in the morning, get my coffee and sit at the computer.  I Google myself, just to see what I did overnight."  She talked about her late mother, living in the South (she's a Nashville resident now), the Pearl Foundation, being at an Irish Folk Festival, country music, her liver surgery and did a little name dropping of friends like Dolly Parton and Bette Midler. She also treated us to her hits: "Society's Child," and "At Seventeen," plus other impressive tunes like "Boots Like Emmy Lou's," "Between The Lines," "My Autobiography," "All Those Promises," "The Last Train," and "Applause, Applause."

  Janis Ian has been performing since she was 15.  She's won three Grammy Awards and has recorded over 20 albums.  Despite the passing of a few years, her pipes are still incredible.  Her crystal-clear voice, skillful guitar playing and insightful lyrics resonated through this converted church. I was impressed with the endless variety of songs that she sang that evening.  There was something for new and old Janis fans to enjoy.  She commanded our attention and the stage.  When asked where she gets her inspiration, she said that she usually answers "I don't know.  Sometimes it comes from places that I'm lucky enough to go to and sometimes not."  Well, I enjoyed all of the songs, but I thought that the standout's included "Love is Blind," "I Hear You Sing Again," (dedicated to the memory of her mother) "Here Comes The Night," and her final song "Joy."  In the early portion of the show, she had said "I know that those of you who know me by reputation are expecting a really depressing show."  Nothing could have been further from the truth.

  After the show, we offered our coins to the Pearl Foundation, her partner sold CDs and DVDs, while Janis chatted with fans, signed autographs and offered an occasional hug.  It was thrilling to meet this OUT legend.  This was undoubtedly one of the most memorable concerts that I've been to in quite a while. You must find her online at

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