Read Between the Lines - Janis Ian returns to the UK for rare concerts in December 2011

Posted: 16th May 2011

What's in a name? Well, back in the 60's and 70's, a fair bit. Sharing the same forename can be an advantage sometimes, but you get the feeling that the UK's indifference to Janis Ian's beautifully-crafted catalogue of occasional taboos and heartbreaks was reconstituted for another enigmatic (though ultimately tragic) and controversial figure, a certain Ms Joplin.

Musically different, of course, but still sharing the same drive to sing outside of the box - Ian chose folk as a home, Joplin plumped for the blues and psychedelia - the former has survived various wrangles with the US record-industry in recent years, claiming that free downloads enhance hard-copy sales (her website gives away as if to strengthen her argument).

However, many of her songs are worth paying for, not least her signature tune, "At Seventeen", a heartfelt and emotive piece that gently explores the pain of teenage kicks-in-the-teeth. No doubt, Janis Ian will perform this and other classics when she hits the UK later this year for a few very rare concerts.

First stop is London's Cadogan Hall on 5th November (tickets cost £24.50) followed by a trip to the Midlands and Birmingham's Town hall on the 13th (tickets are £22.50). The more astute will notice a large 7 day 'hole' between the two cities - will she announce more? Best to keep checking back!!

Now celebrating her 60th year, these are her first announced UK dates since her last studio album in 2006, "Folk Is The New Black" - so there might even be some new songs by the time of these and any extra concerts.

Paul Pledger