Tuesday, May 9, 2017


If you were one of the lucky folks to score a ticket to the recent sold-out Matt Andersen show at the ECMA's in Saint John, N.B., no doubt you'll remember the strong set Ian Janes did on the bill as well. Now, I wasn't there, as I had MC duties at another event, but I know it was good, because I had an expert tell me so. That's Matt himself, who I ran into later that evening. Without me asking, he immediately told me how great Janes was that night. That's a pretty strong recommendation.

James has been on a roll since the release of his latest album, Yes Man, back in February. He did a string of dates with Andersen, made a writing trip to Nashville and Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and saw his song Can't Remember Never Loving You used on the TV show Nashville. Now he's on a string of solo shows through the Maritimes, listed below. I reviewed the new album when it came out, but we might as well read up again if you're keen to one of his shows in the next couple of weeks. Remember, Matt Andersen told you to.

05/12/17 Florenceville-Bristol, NB at Second Wind Music Centre
05/13/17 Fredericton, NB at Grimross Brewing Co.
05/19/17 Ripples, NB at The Hollywood Star Room
05/20/17 St. Andrews, NB at Paddlefest
05/21/17 Saint John at Cask and Kettle
05/26/17 Chester, NS at Chester Playhouse
06/03/17 Halifax, NS at The Carleton
06/08/17 Liverpool, NS at The Astor Theatre
06/10/17 Wolfville, NS at The Al Whittle

                                                           Ian Janes - Yes Man

Ian Janes is one of the best songwriters from the East Coast like, ever, and we never hear enough from him. This is only his fourth album in 19 years, back when it all started with the still-killer Occasional Crush, and his first since 2010, so it's a joy just to have something new. Even better, he hasn't lost a step, and this is a major soulful bunch of new tunes.

Whether it's a funky number like the opening cut, Used, or a tearjerker like Any Fool, Janes sings with pure passion. The songs have an easy feel, but on close look are skillfully crafted, sitting somewhere between soul, pop and Americana. The colouring is bang-on, whether it's the organ that is featured on several tracks, or pedal steel, used so effectively on New Words. Broken Record has an irresistible groove, super vocal, and then out of nowhere, an awesome solo with a guitar sound I've never heard before, and that's courtesy of Janes as well.

The whole mix, production and quality is sharp, bright and exciting, and a great testament to what can be done in these parts these days. Some of it was done in Nashville, some in Pennsylvania, some in St. John's, and the rest in Nova Scotia, using both famous studio folks in the States and many local talents, and you can't tell which is what from who and where until you dig into the credits. The point being, a lot has changed around here in 20 years, and Janes is one of the reasons the quality has always been there, and getting better all the time.

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