Two-time Grammy award-winning folk music legend Janis Ian recently performed for a sold-out crowd at Sellersville Theater. A few years ago, Janis Ian made the choice to dramatically reduce her concert appearances to around four or five a year as a way to spend more time with friends and family. With this in mind, I’m grateful I had the opportunity to attend her Sellersville show, which was fantastic.
Janis Ian typically meets fans after her concerts, autographing merchandise and taking photos with them. However, this evening she was battling bronchitis and, instead, chose to pre-sign items that were for sale. She mentioned this to everyone when she took to the stage, saying that it was only the third time in her extensive career that she couldn’t meet fans after a show. Everyone understood and appreciated her choosing to move forward with the performance, despite her feeling under the weather.
Many of the songs performed throughout the concert appear on Janis Ian’s Stictly Solo album, which she only sells at her concerts. And as the title of the album implies, Janis Ian performs her shows nowadays all on her own. It’s just her, a guitar, and a microphone. The last time I saw her perform live was with a band, so this was a unique experience for me. The highlight of the evening was her rendition of “At Seventeen,” followed by an audience sing-along of “Over The Rainbow” to close out the show. I also really enjoyed the story behind “Through The Years,” as it’s one of Janis Ian’s most beautiful ballads; hearing her perform it and explain how and when it was written made it even more enjoyable.
Janis Ian is arguably the greatest lyricist I’ve ever interviewed. Her songs are profound, poignant, and captivating. Add to that her beautiful voice, which was pristine during the Sellersville concert, and you have a spectacular display of musical ability that is unrivaled. I had forgotten how fantastic of a guitar player Janis Ian is, as well as how funny she can be. Her gorgeous and impassioned songs resulted in numerous standing ovations, and her witty banter punctuated the evening with a nice dose of levity. By the end of the show, everyone was smiling and clapping, realizing they’d just witnessed one of the best concerts ever. Even when she’s not operating at 100%, Janis Ian is a musical force that can’t be stopped.