‘Songs of a Generation’ coming to Kent Stage


Twenty five years after her signature song, “At Seventeen,” was released, Janis Ian continues to write, record and perform. Her newest CD, “God and the FBI,” is the follow-up to 1997’s “Hunger,” and is her second album for Windham Hill Records. Photo by John Scarpati/Windham Hill Records (KRT112 – April 14.

Kate Kelly

Janis Ian and Karla Bonoff, two influential songwriters, will perform at the Kent Stage as a part of the “Songs of a Generation Tour” April 14.

SRO Artists, a booking agency that represents artists and attractions around the United States, described Ian and Bonoff as two of the “most influential songwriters of the 60’s through the 90’s.”

SRO Artist’s website describes Bonoff as one of the “finest singer and songwriters of her time.” Her songs have become pop classics such as “Someone to Lay Down Beside Me” and “Home.”

“Karla and I do about five to six dates a year together,” Ian said. “We have a good blend, we get along very well, we do songs together, and it’s just really nice to be out with a friend.”

Ian published her first song at the age of 13, recording at age 14 and received her first hit, “Society’s Child,” at the age of 15. “Society’s Child” was a song written in 1965 focused on interracial relationships, a very controversial subject at the time. Ian explained how tempers flared from racists at the mention of the song and she constantly received hate mail and death threats.

“Now when I perform this song, I no longer expect people to throw things,” Ian said. “But as much as we think times have changed, I hear something else going on in the world, and I realize they really haven’t.”

Ian’s next song, “At Seventeen,” became what her representative and public relations professional at JAG Entertainment, Melinda Jackson, described as her “trademark song” along with the album in which it debuted, “Between the Lines.” The album earned five Grammy nominations and two wins, including Best Pop Female Performance and Best Engineered Recording. “At Seventeen” and “Society’s Child” both are inductees in the Grammy Hall of Fame.

After decades of continued accomplishments, Jackson said Ian received another Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for her audio book “Society’s Child.” Jackson said she had “stiff” competition with President Bill Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama and Ellen DeGeneres.

“Winning the Grammy against such talent was absolutely astonishing,” Ian said. “I was getting used to losing, and I was getting good at it.”

When Ian was asked out of all of her accomplishments, which was her favorite, she answered without hesitation.

“Being with my partner for 24 years,” Ian said. “Looking back, that was my favorite accomplishment and something about my life that I love.”

Ian encouraged her fans to be prepared for the live concert and bring CDs to autograph. She enjoys hanging around after her show to meet her fans.

“The show will be pretty loose,” Ian said. “I will be storytelling and taking requests on songs. The show should be about 90 minutes, and it will be a lot of fun.”

Thomas Simpson, the director of the Kent Stage, is very excited for Ian and Bonoff to come to the Kent Stage.

“This show is beyond special,” Simpson said.

The show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are between $35.50 and $45.50 and can be purchased online or at The Kent Stage located at 175 E. Main Street.

Contact Kate Kelly at [email protected].