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Folk Is The New Black
Strictly Solo

2014

LIMITED AVAILABILITY! Please note that is album is available ONLY at live Janis Ian shows.

The Basics: A completely solo album, no overdubs, culled from live shows, special projects, and three days in the studio in Nashville created a total of 15 songs. Produced by Janis Ian; engineered by Randy Leago.

Inside Scoop: With pressure from fans at shows who kept asking for an album of old favorites "just like you do them live now", and eight years since the release of her last new album (Folk Is the New Black), Janis decided to create something specifically for sale at shows.

Highlights: Cognizant that she'd be touring a lot with her friend Tom Paxton, who'd be joining her on "This Old Town", she recorded that song for the first time. "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye" was recorded at the request of former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, for use teaching American history in the schools. "Married In London" has been available as a free download, but not on an album. The same is true of "I Am the One", from Janis' audio book The Singer & The Song, the life of Medical Mission Sister Miriam Therese Winter. Strictly Solo also features two brand new songs, the crowd-pleasing "I'm Still Standing" and "A Candle for the Flame". Says Janis about the latter, "How do you write about the people who inspired you, and connect that to the people you inspired? I wanted to acknowledge the moments of darkness we all face, and that for me, being a candle that holds someone else's flame is just as precious as being the flame."

Artwork: Janis' old friend Lloyd Baggs (of L. R. Baggs fame) had wanted to do a photo shoot with her for some time. They arranged to spend an hour in downtown Nashville, and the photos wound up supplanting most of the press photos on her site, as well as becoming the artwork used for Strictly Solo. The design is by Dan Schumann, who also designed Janis' Live From Grand Center DVD.

Lyrics

Seaching for America

Janis Ian

They herded us like so much meat
up from the sewers to the street
where concrete canyons stretched their walls
so high it made us want to crawl
Past proverbs writ on subway cars
and in between the window bars
We walked until that pavement bled
and not a curse was left unsaid

Searching for America, in the rivets and the rust
Searching for America. Finding only dust

They gave us each a cropper's shack
and land so hard it broke the back
Then fed us 'til our bellies burst
on promises that died at birth
So I lay the baby out each dawn
inbetween the tender corn
with sunrise for her bonnet
and flies her only blanket

We harvested until we bled
and every single root ran red
When the work was finally done,
they gave our names to immigration

Searching for America, all her dreams and hopes
Searching for America. Finding only ghosts

Who are these people you have seen,
to dream this dark and distant dream?
To tell the stories you have told?
To leave these bruises on your soul?

We are the flesh, we are the bone
We are the very cornerstone
We leave our mansions and our shacks
to hide here in between the cracks
To walk when we can run no more
and wash up on some distant shore

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

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Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye

Trad Arr. Janis Ian

With your guns and drums and drums and guns
Harroo. Harroo.
With your guns and drums and drums and guns
Harroo. Harroo.
With your guns and drums and drums and guns
the enemy nearly slew ye
Oh, my darling dear, you look so queer
Johnny, I hardly knew ye

Where are your legs that used to run?
Harroo. Harroo.
Where are your legs that used to run?
Harroo. Harroo.
Where are your legs that used to run
when first you went to carry a gun?
Now I fear your dancing days are done
Johnny, I hardly knew ye

Where are your arms that held me tight?
Harroo. Harroo.
Where are your arms that held me tight?
Harroo. Harroo.
Where are your arms that held me tight
ahen first you went to join the fight?
And we'll never, no more, share the night
Johnny, I hardly knew ye

They're rolling out the drums again
Harroo. Harroo.
They're rolling out the drums again
Harroo. Harroo.
They're rolling out the drums again
They're stirring up the boys and men
nd I fear we'll never see the end..
Johnny, I hardly knew ye

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

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Society's Child

Janis Ian

Come to my door, baby
Face is clean and shining black as night
My mama went to answer
You know that you looked so fine
Now I could understand the tears and the shame
She called you "Boy", instead of your name
When she wouldn't let you inside
When she turned and said
"But honey, he's not our kind"

She says I can't see you any more, baby
Can't see you any more

Walk me down to school, baby
Everybody's acting deaf and blind
Until they turn and say
"Why don't you stick to your own kind?"
My teachers all laugh, their smirking stares
cutting deep down in our affairs
Preachers of equality
Think they believe it?
then why won't they just let us be?

They say I can't see you any more, baby
Can't see you any more

One of these days I'm gonna stop my listening
Gonna raise my head up high
One of these days I'm gonna raise up
my glistening wings and fly
But that day will have to wait for a while
Baby, I'm only society's child
When we're older, things may change
but for now this is the way they must remain

I say -- I can't see you any more, baby
Can't see you any more
No, I don't want to see you any more, baby

© Taosongs Two. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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From Me To You

Janis Ian

I'm leaving by night, I'm leaving alone
Leaving it lie, when you waken I'll be gone
I would not beg for me as I would not beg for you
though I'd like to be the one to see you through

Every step you have take disappears with the tide
You're torn up and shaken with changing your mind
You haven't got the grace to say you'll finally decide
and you haven't got the strength to stay to fight

Those people who surround you
only want to see you weak enough to crawl
They'll lie for you, decide for you
and buy up all your rights and all your wrongs
And they'll try to stop your singing
in the middle of your song
for they do not want you free
and they will not make you strong
but only drag you down in the hole they're coming from

They say you are foolish for wanting the sun
They call you selfish for learning to run
They'll tell you that the darkness is a blessing in disguise
You never have to notice if you're sighted or you're blind
and they'll do their best to keep you from the light

You're more than beginning, you're learning to fly
Feels like you're falling, but it passes in time
and I hate to see a friend go down in flames without a song
so I'm waiting by the doorway - I will not linger long

I'm leaving by night, I'm leaving alone
Leaving you lie. When you waken I'll be gone
I would not beg for me as I will not beg for you
but I'd like to be the one to see you through

© Mine Music Ltd./EMI Music Publishing Japan Ltd.
All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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At Seventeen

Janis Ian

I learned the truth at seventeen
That love was meant for beauty queens
and high school girls with clear skinned smiles
who married young and then retired
The valentines I never knew
The Friday night charades of youth
were spent on one more beautiful
At seventeen I learned the truth

And those of us with ravaged faces
lacking in the social graces
desperately remained at home
inventing lovers on the phone
who called to say - come dance with me
and murmured vague obscenities
It isn't all it seems at seventeen

A brown eyed girl in hand me downs
whose name I never could pronounce
said - Pity please the ones who serve
They only get what they deserve
The rich relationed hometown queen
marries into what she needs
with a guarantee of company
and haven for the elderly

Remember those who win the game
lose the love they sought to gain
in debentures of quality and dubious integrity
Their small-town eyes will gape at you
in dull surprise when payment due
exceeds accounts received at seventeen

To those of us who knew the pain
of valentines that never came
and those whose names were never called
when choosing sides for basketball
It was long ago and far away
The world was younger than today
when dreams were all they gave for free
to ugly duckling girls like me

We all play the game, and when we dare
we cheat ourselves at solitaire
Inventing lovers on the phone
Repenting other lives unknown
that call and say - Come dance with me
and murmur vague obscenities
at ugly girls like me, at seventeen

© Mine Music Ltd./EMI Music Publishing Japan Ltd.
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

CHORUS:
Through the years, we've been happy
Through the years, we've been sad
and sometimes, feeling lucky
was the only lucky 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 hearts?

CHORUS:
Through the years, we've been happy
Through the years, we've been sad
and sometimes, feeling lucky
was the only lucky 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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When The Party's Over

Janis Ian

Would you like to learn to sing?
Would you like to sing my song?
Would you like to learn
to love me best of all
Anyone can learn the words
and the melody's so plain
This is my song
to bring you back again

I'll teach you how to sing and dance
with a song and dance routine,
and when the party's over,
you can fall in love with me

Would you like to learn to tango?
Do you dance the light fandango?
I'll teach you how
before we're done
Anyone can make it two
Any two can turn to one
and the melody's lost
before the song's begun

We sound so good together
and so poorly sung alone
Your harmony's an open breeze
into my sheltered home

I can teach you how to sing and dance
with a song and dance routine,
and when the party's over,
you can fall in love with me

© Mine Music Ltd./EMI Music Publishing Japan Ltd.
All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Married In London

Janis Ian

We're married in London
but not in New York
Spain says we're Kosher
The States say we're pork
We wed in Toronto
The judge said "Amen"
and when we got home
we were single again

It's hard being married
and living in sin
Sometimes I forget
just which state I am in
Thank God I'm not Catholic
I'd be a mess
trying to figure out
what to confess

My passport in Sweden
says I've got a wife
Amsterdam tells me
I'm partnered for life
but back in America,
Land of the free,
I'm a threat to
the national security

If I were a frog
here is what I would say --
It's hard being green
It's hard being gay
but love has no color
and hearts have no sex,
so love where you can,
and bugger the rest

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

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Bright Lights And Promises

Janis Ian

Bright lights and promises, a pocket full of dreams
That's what they pay me to be
Gold lame and diamonds - I am a hometown queen
Honey, would you sing it just for me?

When I was good... then I was bad
I never thought i'd end up this way
with no dreams to hide me - bright lights to guide me
How long does it take to make the grade?

Everywhere I hear a ringing in my ears
Drummer, let the music play
Small-town blues, make it loud, make it do
Listen to the music sway

Bar rails and cocktails - have you got a light?
That's all it pays to keep in sight
Overused and much abused promises of delight
Honey, would you care to spend the night?

Take a little time - some memories and wine
Loosen up the sucker by the bar
And if he wants to hold you, if he wants to know you
Honey, that's what you're here for

Until all I see is them reaching out for me
Drummer, play that old-time melody

Bright lights and promises, that's all it's for
Leave and enter by the service door
Now I'm gold lame and diamonds, even if my gold is worn
Honey, who could ask for more?

© Mine Music Ltd./EMI Music Publishing Japan Ltd.
All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Tea And Sympathy

Janis Ian

I don't want to ride the milk train any more
I'll go to bed at nine, and waken with the dawn
and lunch at half past noon
Dinner prompt at five
The comfort of a few old friends long past their prime

Pass the tea & sympathy
for the good old days long gone
Let's drink a toast to those who most
believe in what they've won
It's a long long time 'til morning
plays wasted on the dawn
I'll not write another line,
for my true love is gone

And when the guests have done
I'll tidy up the room
I'll turn the covers down
and gazing at the moon
will pray to go quite mad
and live in long ago
when you and I were one, so very long ago

Pass the tea & sympathy
for the good old days long gone
Let's drink a toast to those who most
believe in what they've won
It's a long long time 'til morning
plays wasted on the dawn
I'll not write another line,
for my true love is gone

And when I have no dreams
to give you any more,
I'll light a blazing fire
and wait within the door,
and throw my life away
"I wonder why?" they all will say
And now I lay me down to sleep,
forever and a day

Pass the tea & sympathy
for the good old days are dead
Let's drink a toast to those who best
survived the life they've led
It's a long long time 'til morning,
so build your fires high
Now I lay me down to sleep,
forever by your side

© Mine Music Ltd./EMI Music Publishing Japan Ltd.
All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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This Old Town

Janis Ian/Jon Vezner

This old town should have burned down in 1929
That's when we stood in line,
waiting for our soup while swallowing our pride
This old town should have burned down in 1931
when the rain refused to come
Air filled up our bellies
Dust filled up our lungs,
and we thought our time had come

But this old town was built by hand
in the dustbowl of the motherland
There must be rock beneath this sand
I'll be damned - this town still stands

This old town should have burned down in 1944
when the last man went to war
They came back different, if they came back at all
This old town should have burned down in 1956
That's when the twister hit
All our hopes lay buried beneath the boards and bricks,
and we almost called it quits

But this old town was built by hand
in the dustbowl of the motherland
There must be rock beneath this sand
I'll be damned - this town still stands

Somewhere in the distance
the city lights do shine
Sidewalks gleam with neon dreams
that call from time to time
When my children's children ask me
why I didn't go
I'll say - The heart of any town
is the people that you've known,
and they always call you home

This old town was built by hand
In the dustbowl of the motherland
There is be rock beneath the sand
I'll be damned - this town still stands

© Taosongs Two (50%)/Universal-Songs of Polygram. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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I Hear You Sing Again

Woody Guthrie/Janis Ian

If I could only hear my mother sing again
If I could close my eyes and hear your voice as then
All the friends and family
would sing along with me,
and set your spirit free

CHORUS:
In my heart I hear you sing again
Every note as natural as then
When I sing those songs
with family and friends,
in my heart I hear you sing again

Verse:
I know the troubled times that turned your hair to grey
and all the tears and sorrows followed to your grave
but deep within the heart of hunger,
there were always melodies
passed from you to me

CHORUS

And it's a long, long road I've come
since my mother's songs were heard
but the child I can't outrun
still hangs on every word

CHORUS

In my heart I hear you sing again
Every note as natural as then
When I sing those songs
with family and friends,
in my heart I hear you sing again
In my heart, I hear you sing again

© Rude Girl Pub. (50%)/Woody Guthrie Publications.
All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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A Candle For The Flame

Janis Ian

When I look back on the friends I've made
and think how few of them remain
I would not be ashamed to say
I'm lucky I became
a candle for the flame

Looking back at the money I made
There are those who say I threw it all away
Gone to family and friends
but I would do it again
‘cause it helped me to remain
a candle for the flame

It shone so bright
on my darkest night
I never felt myself alone
and I always believed
that it shined just for me
A light I'd always known
would guide my way back home

I have tasted the wine of regret
I have wasted the secrets I kept
but I would not be afraid to say
I'm lucky I remained
a candle to the flame
No, I would not be ashamed to say
I'm lucky I became
a candle for the flame

© Rude Girl Publishing 2014. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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I'm Still Standing

Janis Ian

See these lines on my face?
They’re a map of where I’ve been
and the deeper they are traced,
the deeper life has settled in
How do we survive living out our lives?

CHORUS:
And I would not trade a line
Make it smooth and fine
or pretend that time stands still
I want to rest my soul
here where it can grow without fear
Another line, another year
I’m still standing here

See these marks on my skin?
They’re the lyric of my life
Every story I begin
just means another end’s in sight
Only lovers understand – skin just covers who I am

CHORUS

See these bruises? See these scars?
Heiroglyphs that tell the tale
You can read them in the dark
through your fingertips, like Braille…

CHORUS
I’m still standing here
I’m still standing here

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

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I Am The One

Miriam Therese Winter/Janis Ian

I am the rays of the rising sun
Snow on the mountains of the moon
The far-flung canopy of stars
The shadows of late afternoon

I am the wisdom of the sage
I am the refuge of all who weep
I am the mother of all who live
I am the promises I keep

CHORUS:
I am the one who sits with sorrow
I am the one who feels your pain
I am the hope of your tomorrow
When all is lost... I still remain
I am the one... who will remain

Verse:
I am the seed that longs to bloom
The river yearning for the sea
The heartfelt hope of every womb
I am the faith you place in me

I am the silence and the sound
The gentle rain that breaks the stone
I am the dream of love unbound
I am the way that calls you home

Chorus

© 2011 Medical Mission Sisters/Janis Ian. All proceeds go to the Medical Mission Sisters of Philadelphia, PA. All rights reserved.

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Tour Dates

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All tour dates updated on January 13, 2017

[full tour dates list]

In The Store
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Audiobook - Society's Child: My Autobiography now available!

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Remember: Live 1977 Australia & Japan CD

Remember: Live 1977 Australia & Japan CD

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Best Of Janis Ian - The Autobiography Collection CD

Best Of Janis Ian:
The Autobiography Collection
CD

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Society's Child Paperback Book

Society's Child: My Autobiography Paperback now available

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Live From Grand Center DVD

Live From Grand Center DVD
A PBS Special

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Society's Child Signed 1st Ed. Hardback Book

Society's Child: My Autobiography
Signed 1st ed. hardcover

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Folk Is The New Black CD

Folk Is The New Black CD

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