When I was in high school, I listened to a lot of chick singers. I would lay on my bedroom floor and listen to Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Sarah McClachlan, Suzanne Vega, Liz Phair and others and while writing terrible short stories about my angsty teenaged life. The chick singer phase continued into college, though to a much lesser extent (well, except for Tori, which I’m sure I’ll end up telling you about at some point).
One night after work about 10 years ago, I picked up a 3-disc compilation that Rolling Stone put out called The Rolling Stone Women in Rock Collection. On disc 2 of that set I discovered a song I’d never heard before, but loved immediately, “At Seventeen” by Janis Ian. Outside of that song, however, I never really bothered to seek out any other music by her.
A couple of months ago, I was browsing around eMusic and I noticed that Janis’s Stars album was recommended for me. I took a listen and liked what I heard, so I downloaded it and a couple of others and enjoyed everything. It kind of baffled me that I hadn’t discovered her back in high school during my chick singer days. I guess better late than never, right?
Earlier this week, I attended a book signing for her recently-released autobiography, Society’s Child. She spoke for about 30 minutes, telling some stories from the book, did a 30-minute Q&A (I was actually quite proud that not a single stupid question was asked, which is never the norm when I attend Q&A’s), then did the signing. She was very nice and gracious and seemed genuinely happy to talk to her fans. Getting to meet artists in such a low-key, relaxed atmosphere is always a good thing, and I’m glad I went. I recommend you pick up her book and the accompanying CD she just released. And, of course, go see her if she’s going to be in a city near you.
Janis Ian – Society’s Child (mp3)
Janis Ian – At Seventeen (mp3)
Janis Ian – Stars (mp3)