Janis Ian, one of the most consistently loved and most prolific singer/ songwriters in the country, returns to the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College on Saturday, Mar. 19.
Many artists emerged in the ’60s claiming to be “confessional,” but few have been as painfully honest as Ian. As a songwriter, she is considered among the “greats,” counting in her repertoire “Jesse,” a song recorded by so many others that few remember Ian wrote it; “Stars,” perhaps the best song ever written about the life of a performer, recorded by artists as diverse as Mel Torme and Cher; and the seminal “At Seventeen,” a song that brought Ian five Grammy nominations in 1975 (the most any solo female artist had ever garnered), and which is now reaching its third generation of listeners.
As a musician, Ian was a child prodigy, requesting piano lessons at age 2 and progressing from there to French horn, trumpet and “anything else she could get her hands on.” She was only 10 when she first picked up her father’s battered Martin D-18 guitar and 13 when she published her first song in Broadside Magazine. At age 14, she wrote “Society’s Child,” the song that charted her life’s course, and about which Arlene Levinson of the Associated Press wrote, “a white teenager indicting America for its racism and hypocrisy … That honesty, its eloquence and depth, may be her chief legacy to contemporary music.”
As she began to perform, Ian was labeled a formidable talent, a force of nature, and dubbed “The best young singer in America” by Ella Fitzgerald. Chet Atkins said “Singer? You ought to hear that girl play guitar; she gives me a run for my money!”
Most recently, Ian released “Society’s Child: My Autobiography,” which O Magazine called “hugely readable” and recommended as one of 27 “must-reads” for the summer. The accompanying double CD-set, “Best of Janis Ian: The Autobiography Collection” contains 31 tracks including her classics completely re-mastered, plus previously unreleased bonus tracks.
Though approaching her 60th birthday, Ian continues to tour the world and has recently returned from Japan. Reviewers have called Ian’s live performances overwhelming to the spirit and soul, and drenched with such passion, that audiences often report they’ve been swept up in a hurricane.
Tickets for Janis Ian — $15/$20/$25 — are available online at www.durangoconcerts.com or by calling 247-7657. All sales final.
Showtime is 7:30 p.m., with doors to the Concert Hall and concessions, serving beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages and snacks, opening at 6:30.