Nominated for a Grammy Award for "Best Folk Album 2022!"
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To purchase vinyl copies of The Light at the End of the Line please visit the new Janis Ian "All Things Signed" website. And remember, you audiophiles - every vocal track on this was recorded at a live show, or is a "first-take" vocal. If you hear the occasional breath or spit sound, that's why. We did as little to everything as possible. No vocal limiting or compression. Enjoy!
This album is also available as audiophile FLAC files, CD quality FLAC files and high quality MP3 files right here! High quality cover art, album credits, song lyrics and Janis' "Inside Story" will be included in your download.
You can even purchase high quality MP3 files for each individual song, and Lyrics are available free. There's a digital songbook , or individual Sheet music is available .
Of course, you can also purchase from a variety of digital distributors such as iTunes and Amazon, though we'd really prefer you purchase here!
Tracks (see below for "inside story" and more information):
- I'm Still Standing
- Wherever Good Dreams Go
- Perfect Little Girl
- Dancing With The Dark
- Dark Side Of The Sun
- Summer In New York
- The Light At The End Of The Line
- Better Times Will Come
After the release of Folk is the New Black in 2006, Janis decided not to make another record until she felt she had “an album’s worth of impeccable songs”. Although she released several private “for the fans” items, and continued touring, she also set up a whiteboard with a constantly rotating list of songs in process, songs she thought would make the cut, and thoughts about subjects she wanted to cover. One thing that became apparent over the years was her strong relationship with her fans, and the sense that she and they had come full circle – from “Society’s Child” through “Stars” to “The Light at the End of the Line”.
Once Covid-19 caused everyone to postpone their live appearances, she became very busy with the Better Times Project, an effort to help other artists who could no longer support scheduled new releases by appearing onstage or at conventions, or doing book signings, and all the other things that had been the norm to promote new works. For five months she and a volunteer put up a new version by a new artist five days a week, resulting in the current 187 versions (with thirteen still waiting to be posted.)
During that time, she continued to write.
The Inside Story:
From Janis: I’ve always considered myself a writer first. I think the hardest thing for any artist, as we age, is to keep our edge, to avoid the easy way out. After more than 55 years as a professional writer, it’s not hard to use my experience to cover up a bad line, or an awkward melody. I really did not want to do that! I also realized that I’d never managed to make an entire album that felt like it lived up to the talent I was lucky enough to be born with. And, that my time was finite – I understood that in a completely different way as I turned seventy.
I was floating along through lock-down, tracking new songs on my whiteboard, when I looked at the list one day and thought “Omigosh, I’m just lacking the farewell song, and I have an album!” I knew I wanted it to be sparse, but I wanted a fuller picture for “Resist” and “Better Times Will Come.” I’d worked with Randy Leago for years , I knew he’d understand my goals on “Resist” in a way few others could, so we began working long distance . We’d check in every 3-4 weeks to make changes, add or subtract, walking the thin line between what the song itself demanded, and what my voice could sustain. We talked about “being in service to the song” and tried to stay true to that ethic.
Once we’d finished, I also asked him to add things like the wonderful obligato clarinet run on “Summer In New York”, and the moving harmonica on “Stranger.”
I’d worked with Viktor Krauss on several projects and watched his growth as a producer, and since I was living on an island while he was still in Nashville, it was logical to ask him to work on “Better Times”. We went through our mutual Rolodexes to pick the players, and looked on the piece as an arc – of the past two years with Covid, of my life as an artist, of the world in general. That may sound pretentious, but reflection is part of an artist’s job, and ending the album with that cut just brings it full circle, for me.
I’d begun writing “Swannnoa” during my first week teaching at the Swannanoa Gathering, and a year later Beth Magill suggested I ask Nuala Kennedy to play whistle on it at a live show we were doing. Nuala in turn said John Whalen would be the perfect arranger, and so he was! The best compliment I’ve gotten about that song is when someone said “I’ve never heard that traditional ballad before – where’s it from?”
My artist friends really turned out for me on this one, from musicians and co-producers to photographers and videographers. I’m very proud that every single person I asked to join responded with an immediate “Yes”. I’ve never said this before, and I never will say it again, but this is the best album I’ve ever made. Let it rest there.
Visit the Janis Ian website.