Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Janis Ian - really real

Now and again the successfully high-profile efforts of those in the mainstream record industry to package and manufacture the next "real deal" catches my attention. Invariably, often thanks to YouTube, my looking to understand the mechanics of the "game", and to consider how, in contrast, real music has run the gauntlet to reach its audience, this process rewards with some discovery, or rediscovery, of great music.

I'm not even going to bother talking about the latest product tooled by the "machine" (the new country/pop "prodigy" about whom a profile in the New Yorker set me on this trail). More precious is the time given to enjoying some wonderful music, and these performances, from Janis Ian.

First, Society's Child, a hit song Ian penned at age 13. Here she is, all of 16, on The Smothers Brothers tv show:



And, here's more of Janis Ian - performing what's likely her best-known song, "At Seventeen" - on The Old Grey Whistle Test:



Janis Ian remains a vital musician, performer, social commentator and all 'round person of integrity, humour and compassion. She's an inspiration - really, the real deal.

I cannot recommend highly enough checking out her music and writings (lyrics, essays, magazine pieces +) - much of which can be found on her own website today.

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