Just a few weeks before lockdown I wrote an article about music appreciation here.
I was inspired by an image I saw on a post by Janis Ian. At the time of my youth she was a well respected singer song writer. She still is a well respected singer song writer among many other things now. I would also say she is a ‘creative enabler’. That is , she encourages and instills creativity in other people in a very natural way.
During the Covid-19 lockdown I have been a regular visitor to her facebook page. People might remember her for songs like ‘At Seventeen’ She has a vast array of work though and still tours ( or did) until now.
After a while in lockdown and re-reading my article one day I decided to contact her by email to share the article on Orkney News and to thank her for her continued contributions to creativity and art. Anyway to my great surprise and delight she replied thanking me for the share of the article and in return she shared a project she is doing just now.
From Janis: This song started running around my head the day after Prine died, as I was doing laundry. It stayed with me through the dryer cycle, and I moved from my head to a notebook about ten minutes later. It was finished half an hour later; I grabbed my phone and sung into it, tapping time with the pen I’d been using. I call this kind of piece a “miracle song” because they’re so rare in my life. I’ve probably written five songs out of 600+ that came this quickly, and I’m always humbled when it happens.She means John Prine of course.
John Prine died early on in the pandemic from Covid complications. He was 73 and had served in the Vietnam war and later joined the postal service. He would take inspiration about people he encountered on his mail route. ‘Hello in there’ remains to this day a challenge to us all to reach out to the most socially isolated people in our society and is so relevant now. In terms of singer song writer stardom he was a very humble man but was a huge influence. He could count on the likes of Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash as fans. He clearly inspired Janis to write this amazing song. Not only that but like all good creative people she began to ‘spark’ other creativity from a broad range of other people. There is even a grungy version of the song in there if you care to find it.
This kind of project is the lifeblood of creativity as it takes place online. It gives other creative people an outlet for their own ongoing careers and most of all it gives us all HOPE.
We know that not everyone uses Facebook so I am sharing the web based version of her Project here. It has become a collection of people doing versions of the song ‘Better Times Will Come’ and a whole lot more. It also includes some amazing free colouring in art work from some of her artistic friends. Do not forget the children.
Hope you all enjoy the free music and great talent and continue to stay safe.
Better Times Will Come.