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  • Janis Ian playing bass for Rev. Marie Knight on 'Old Woodsongs Hour' - photo by Larry Streun
  • Janis Ian with Pat Snyder & Bette Midler
  • Janis Ian with author J. A. (Judy) Jance - photo by Denise Tschida
  • Janis Ian with Judy jance celebrating her living room concert - photo by Debra Hyslop
  • Janis Ian with Catie Curtis, Patty Larkin, Joe Boles (Mayor of St. Augustine) & his wife Jane - photo by Jane-Gale Burnick
  • Janis Ian backstage at the Ryman Auditorium with Chet Atkins & Garrison Keillor - photo by Barbara Short
  • A 15 year old Janis Ian with television host Joey Bishop - photo by Ivan Nagy
  • Janis Ian at a signing in Japan - photo by Peter Cunningham
  • Janis Ian with Steve Earle,  Johnny Cash, Clint Black & Connie Bradley
  • Janis with Clint Black, Mary Chapin-Carpenter and others - photo by Don Putnam
Breaking Silence
Folk Is The New Black

1993

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The Basics: Produced by Janis Ian & Jeff Balding; recorded in Nashville during 1992; released worldwide in 1993. The album received wonderful reviews and a Grammy nomination "Best Contemporary Folk Album - Breaking Silence." "Some People's Lives" became the title song of a double-platinum album for Bette Midler; "What About the Love" was featured on a platinum album by Amy Grant. "All Roads To the River" was originally recorded for the film Falling From Grace with John Mellencamp producing, and charted top 30 on the Gavin Chart; it was also recorded by Mellencamp himself under the title "To the River." "Tattoo" was chosen by the government of Holland to represent their country in European festivities celebrating the 50th anniversary of World War II end. Voted Album of the Year by the Nashville Music Awards.

Personnel: Musicians: Jim Brock, Jim Hoke, Dan Huff, Janis Ian, Chad Watson.

Inside Scoop: Janis had moved to Nashville in 1988, completely broke and in ill health. There she met Pat Snyder (they married in 2003 and are still going strong). Both in debt, they slowly began crawling out of their financial holes. By 1991 they'd managed to put a down payment on a house; they took out a second mortgage to fund the making of this album. Breaking Silence touches on many controversial themes - "His Hands" deals with spousal abuse, "Breaking Silence" with incest, "Tattoo" with the Holocaust. As Janis says," I thought I was only going to get one more chance to record, so I wanted to make it count. All of those songs are currently in use by various schools, therapists, and institutions, under free licenses from Janis and her publishing company." "All Roads to the River" was written while Janis was watching Jean Genet's "The Maids," starring Susannah York and Glenda Jackson. And "Ride Me Like A Wave," a huge in-concert favourite, almost didn't make the album! No one but Janis and Jim Brock, wanted the song recorded; everyone felt it was "too overt for a woman to sing."

This is out of print in the US now, which is really silly, since it's a Grammy nominee - in addition to still being used by audio companies to test their equipment! To maintain the audio quality of our own imports, we can proudly say that our version here is identical to - or better than - the audiophile version released a while back. Ours is also completely re-mastered from the original analog source, and every bit as good as the "gold" version. Maybe even better, since Janis oversaw this one!

Lyrics

All Roads To The River

Janis Ian/Jon Vezner

I am master and slave
I am sunlight and shadow
I am all roads to the river
I am lost, I am saved
I am beloved and betrayed
All roads to the river

And the river runs wide
The river runs deep
I spit in the eye of safe company
When I dive right down
to the undertow,
the deeper I drown,
the higher I go

I am whispering dreams
I am howling revolutions
All roads to the river
I am Valentine sweet
I am every mother's nightmare
I am all roads to the river

The river runs wide
The river runs deep
I spit in the eye of safe company
When I dive right down
to the undertow,
The deeper I drown,
The higher I go

I dream of still waters,
silent and clear
But I run for the thunder
that'll drown my fear

(Instrumental)

River runs wide
River runs deep
I spit in the eye of safe company
When I dive right down
o the undertow,
The deeper I drown,
the higher I go

© Rude Girl Pub. (50%)/Minnesota Man Music.
All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Ride Me Like A Wave

Janis Ian

Hide me in your hollows
Taste the salt that clings to me
Shipwrecked in your shallows
Scented by the sea
Hide me in the wisdom of your thighs
Ride me like a wave

Chart my secret places
Navigate my shores
Map the ocean's traces
Lick them from my pores
Dry me with delusion and desire
Ride me like a wave
Cover me in spray
Promise you will stay

I remember mornings,
waking by your side
Your scent on the pillow
Fever in your eyes
Cast upon the waters
Shipless, I surrender
Lead me to your harbor
Cover me in splendor
Drown me in delusion and desire
Ride me like a wave

Other seas may call you
Other shores will shine
Tempt you with their treasures
Water into wine
Still the safest harbor will be mine
Ride me like a wave
Ride me like a wave

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Tattoo

Janis Ian

Her new name was tattooed to her wrist
It was longer than the old one
Sealed in the silence with a fist
This night will be a cold one
Centuries live in her eyes
Destiny laughs over jack-booted thighs
"Work makes us free" says the sign
Nothing leaves here alive
Tattoo

She steps out of line to the left,
and her father to the right
One sides a cold, clean death
The other is an endless night
Gold from a grandmother's tooth
Mountains of jewelry and toys
piled in the corners, mailed across the borders
Presents for the girls and boys
Presents for the girls and boys
Tattoo

It gets darker every night
Spread-eagled out among the stars, she says
Somewhere in this tunnel lives a light
Still my beating heart
I have never known a man
What man will want me now?
Am I still alive, somehow?
If I can survive, somehow
Tattooed

Soldiers from the other side
liberated them at dawn
Gave her water, gave her life
She still had all her clothes on
She lived until she died
Empty as the autumn leaves that fly
Surgeons took the mark
but they could not take it far
It was written on her heart
Written on her empty heart
Tattooed

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Guess You Had To Be There

Janis Ian/Buddy Mondlock

Back in nineteen-sixty-three. we walked a fine line
We were taking to the streets, skating on a thin dime
We were searching after truth and beauty
Now they turn it into late night movies
How can I explain
that it's not the same

Guess you had to be there to be where
love belonged to everyone
Flowers in the long hair, we stood there
singing "We shall overcome"
Knowing the eyes of the world were on us
Knowing the whole world cared
Guess you had to be there

In the summer of our youth, we came together
and we knew that our truth would live forever
We were gonna make the whole world honest
when a bullet got the bravest of us
Somehow nothing else was sacred
and we all stood naked

Guess you had to be there to be where
love belonged to everyone
Flowers in the long hair, we stood there
singing "We shall overcome"
Knowing the eyes of the world were on us
Knowing the whole world cared
Guess you had to be there

Now we listen to the news, and it seems all hope is gone
Everybody feeling used, and there's nowhere left to run
Sometimes it feels like the memory
is all that's left of our used-to-be
but what can never be denied
is the way we changed inside

Guess you had to be there to be where
Love belonged to everyone
Flowers in the long hair, we stood there
singing "We shall overcome"
Knowing the eyes of the world were on us
Knowing the whole world cared
Guess you had to be there

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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What About The Love

Janis Ian/Kye Fleming

I went to see my sister - she was staying with a friend
Who had turned into a preacher to save the world from sin
He said - first deny your body. Then learn to submit.
Better pray to be made worthy, and tithe your ten percent
I said - is this all there is? Just the letter of the law?
Something's wrong...

I went to see my brother on the thirty-second floor
Of a building down on Wall Street - you could hear the futures roar
He said - here we make decisions, and we trade commodities
if you'll tell me where there's famine, I can make you guarantees
I said - is this all there is? Power to the strong?
Something's wrong...

Something's wrong in heaven tonight
You can almost hear them cry
Angels to the left and the right
Saying - what about the love?
What about the love?
What about the love?

I went to see my neighbor. He'd been taken to a home
For the weak and the discarded who have no place to go
He said - here I lack for nothing. I am fed and I am clothed
But at times I miss the freedom I used to know
I said - is this all there is, when your usefulness is gone?
Something's wrong...

Something's wrong in heaven tonight
You can almost hear them cry
Angels to the left and the right
Saying - what about the love?
What about the love?
What about the love?

I looked into the mirror - proud as I could be
And I saw my pointing finger pointing back at me
Aaying - who named you accuser? Who gave you the scales?
I hung my head in sorrow. I could almost feel the nails.
I said - this is how it is, to be crucified and judged without love

Something's wrong in heaven tonight
You can almost hear them cry
Angels to the left and the right
Saying - what about the love?
What about the love?
What about the love of God?

© Taosongs Two (50%)/Irving Music/Eaglewood Music.
All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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His Hands

Janis Ian

His hands were made of lightning
His fingers were the wind
They reached into my heart
and let me love again
His touch was made for pleasure
so good it seemed a sin
Stroking my soul, keeping me whole
'til I gave myself to him

His hands - they never hit me sober
His hands - they never marked my face
I would rather be blind thn see him treat me that way
I would rather be deaf than hear that sound
Like a pistol cracking as the spirit breaks
ad love comes tumbling down

He learned it from his father
and from his father's wife
He learned from the preacher
who told her they were married for life
And if I'd had his children
they might have learned from me
I finally ran when I saw that his hands
wuld sign that legacy

He said, "I've broken stallions
"I've broken mares too
"and given time, and the right frame of mind
"I swear I'll break you"

So come all you pretty women
who think that you're too smart
and learn from one who loved a damaged heart
There are some things you can gamble
There are some things you can change
but you can't change a man with the law in his hand
It's like trying to drown the rain

His hands - they never hit me sober
His hands - they never marked my face
I would rather be blind tThan see him treat me that way
I would rather be deaf than hear that sound
Like a pistol cracking as the spirit breaks
and love comes tumbling down
Tumbling down
Tumbling down

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Walking On Sacred Ground

Janis Ian/Jess Leary

I once was much like you
Had a nine-to-five, and a mortgage due
The rat race got to me
First it ate me up, then it set me free
One day it buried me alive
I snapped and almost lost my mind
I crawled out just in time to go

Walking, walking, walking
Walking on sacred ground
Walking, walking, walking
Walking on sacred ground

At first I lost my way
but I stumbled on until one day
I came across a stone
with the name of every soul i'd known
I edged around it carefully
'til it became a memory
that set my spirit free, to go

Walking, walking, walking
Walking on sacred ground
Walking, walking, walking
Walking on sacred ground

Mmm, we're all afraid of going under
Honey, is it really any wonder?
caught between the silence and the thunder

I once was much like you
Always a lot to do
I ran so hard to stay in place,
the wind took on a bitter taste
Now I don't run that race - I go

Walking, walking, walking
Walking on sacred ground
Walking, walking, walking
Walking on sacred ground

© Rude Girl Pub. (50%)/WB Music Corp.
All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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This Train Still Runs

Janis Ian/Jess Leary

* Also recorded by Ronnie Gilbert & Holly Near

I felt a rumble in my heart, over the mountains
as the engine ate the spark, spitting out the miles
Times when I tried to jump the track
Weight of the world upon my back
Still after all is said and done

This train still runs
It doesn't matter where it's gone
This train still runs
and though the baggage weighs a ton,
we carry on
Nothing is forever young
I'm not done - his train still runs

I had a friend I left behind, back at the station
We used to burn the power lines, racing with the wind
But time has the manners of a thief
Young love turns bittersweet
Still we keep that lantern hung - this train still runs

This train still runs
It doesn't matter where it's gone
This train still runs
and though the baggage weighs a ton,
we carry on
No one is forever young
I'm not done this train still runs

Got a ticket in my pocket & I'm ready to ride
Got a motor rolling over to an easy glide
I'm gonna travel on the gravel to the other side
Sure as a baby loves the teat
Sure as a high heel on concrete
Sure as the songs I've left unsung
This train still runs

This train still runs
It doesn't matter where it's gone
This train still runs
and though the baggage weighs a ton,
we carry on
Nothing is forever young
I'm not done - this train still runs
This train still runs
This train still runs

© Rude Girl Pub. (50%)/WB Music Corp.
All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Through The Years

Janis Ian

It's a miracle of nature
just to be alive tonight
Awake in your arms
The world and it's charms
lit up by candle light
It's a miracle of feeling
to love despite the fear
So please don't forget
I've had no regrets
since you found me here

Through the years we've been happy
Through the years we've been sad
and sometimes, feeling lucky
was the only luck we had
but we always found
some laughter In the tears
Through the years

It's a never-ending wonder
that other arms are cold,
when every night
I'm warmed by the light
of your spindthrift soul
Shining like a beacon
Lit up aganst the dark
What do people do
when they don't have you
alive in their heart?

Through the years we've been happy
Through the years we've been sad
and sometimes, feeling lucky
was the only luck we had
but we always found
some laughter In the tears
Through the years

What do people do
who haven't got you
to lighten the tears?
Through the years
Through the years
Through the years

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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This House

Janis Ian

I built this house out of cedar wood
and I laid the beams by hand
One for every false heart I had known
One for the true heart I planned
Laid the windows tight against the wind,
so in the winter we'd be warm
I built a bedroom out of solid oak
Safety from the storm

This house is burning
This house is on fire
When you whisper to the walls,
it's another's name you call
Even your tongue's become a liar
This house is on fire

Stole the heart of a cherry wood
and I built a door to last
It was thick enough to keep all thieves away
when the long nights came to pass
Then one day there was a hint of spring
and there were roses in the air
We opened wide enough to let you in
I was glad to share

This house is burning
This house is on fire
When you whisper to the walls
it's another's name you call
Even your satin sheets are liars
This house is on fire

I said - I've built a good foundation
Built on faith and hope
But the fireplace is strong
Put it out when you are gone,
or the whole damned thing will go up in smoke

This house is burning
This house is on fire
When you whisper to the walls
it's another's name you call
Even your body is a liar
This house is on fire

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Some People's Lives

Janis Ian/Kye Fleming

* Also recorded by Bette Midler

Some people's lives
run down like clocks
One day they stop
That's all they've got
Some lives wear out
Like old tennis shoes
No one can use
It's sad, but it's true

Didn't anybody tell them?
Didn't anybody see?
Didn't anybody love them
Like you love me?

Some people's eyes
Fade with their dreams
Too tired to rise
Too tired to sleep
Some people laugh
When they need to cry,
And they never know why

Didn't anybody tell them,
that's not how it has to be ?
Didn't anybody love them
like you love me?

Some people ask --
If the tears have to fall,
then why take your chances?
Why bother at all?

And some people's lives
are as cold as their lips
They just need to be kissed

Doesn't anybody tell them?
Doesn't anybody see?
Doesn't anybody love them
like you love me?
'cause that's all they need

© Taosongs Two (50%)/Irving Music/Eaglewood Music.
All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Breaking Silence

Janis Ian

Come into my solitude
though I weary be
Come into my tenderness
Dream along with me
Listen to the whispers sing
Listen to the singer shout
Come into my solitude
Me and my big mouth

Thoughts unspoken, thoughts unsaid
Lies of hearth and home
Children broken on the bed
and left to lie alone
Things you talk around
Scum you choke on down
Come into my solitude
Step on sacred ground

We were speaking
of values and violence
Breaking silence

Fathers who are lovers to
the daughters that they own
Mothers who don't leave a child
a single safety zone
People so unhinged
that death is much too kind
Come into my solitude
Step over that line

...Thought I was the only one
...Thought I was the only one
...Thought I was the only, only one

We were speaking
of values and violence
Breaking silence

Come into my solitude
Welcome to the wheel
Come into this wonderland
of wounds that will not heal
Walls that do not speak
Steps that do not sound
Come into my solitude
Burn this building down

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Tour Dates

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All tour dates updated on March 16, 2017

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