STYLE: Roots/Acoustic RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 13251-2890 LABEL: Independent FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
In American Christian music circles Jan is pretty well known. In 1998 CCM magazine named her 1996 'Curious' album as one of its Top 100 Christian Albums Of All Time. However, in the UK Jan remains unknown (despite her 1993 debut 'Decapitated Society' getting a release here through Kingsway). Jan's style has been called "part of the '90s new folk revival," and if you can imagine an impassioned acoustic singer/songwriter in a style pitched somewhere between Sarah Maclauchlin and Joni Mitchell you won't be far wrong. Despite the CCM plaudits, this thoughtful, politically charged songstress is a million miles from Nashville evangelical sloganeerers and instead offers her songwriting craft to pinpoint the injustices she sees all around in this screwed up world of ours. Memorable images abound ("The bleached white coat of influence/With their monograms of greed/Convince you it's your duty/Open up and bleed/So we rupture jobs and money/And we haemorrhage human life/And who does all this profit/When the planets collide") while her spiritual songs, like the haunting "How Did We Ever End Up Here" and "Special Place In Heaven" are outstanding. Sometimes Jan's songwriting judgment slips, we could have done without the repeated use of the "sh.." word on "A Woman In Her 40s" while "Ain't Love Grand" (about a boozy ex-spouse?) is simply too embittered for comfortable listening. But here is an immense songwriting talent with a lot to say to the world. and indeed the Church. We need to listen to her.
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