God & the FBI
Janis Ian's latest CD, God & the FBI, comes across as a release that is both whimsical and poignant. The eleven tracks highlight Ian's various musical tastes with country, pop and introspective ballads. Her gift as a talented songwriter is evident on every song. Foregoing the big studios, God & the FBI was recorded at a house in the suburbs. Guest artists include Willie Nelson, Chet Atkins, and Steve Gadd. The opening track is a satirical look at government paranoia that pokes a little fun at our obsession with Communists. The musical tone turns one-eighty for "On the Other Side," a song about death with a chorus of angels singing in Latin. "Memphis," sung with Willie Nelson, is a country-flavored tribute to the city. The musical variations continue through the album with the snappy "Jolene." "Play Like a Girl" is the radio-friendly pop song with bright bouncy beats and a guitar solo by the "chick singer" that will leave you dancing in the kitchen and humming in the car. The pop is balanced with "Days Like These" and "She Must Beautiful," the slower ballads. "Boots Like Emmy Lou's" brings back the country riffs, but this time mocking female country singers, their egos and all their trappings. Janis closes out the CD with "Murdering Stravinsky," another satirical look at the so-called avant garde. Sad songs, satire, country songs and the mocking of country stars - sounds like a Janis Ian hit to me.
Windham Hill, 75 Willow Rd., Menlo Park, CA 94025; http://www.windham.com, http://www.janisian.com