Billie's Bones

Billie's Bones

by Janis Ian
     
 
Billie’s Bones, Janis Ian’s 18th studio effort, has much in common with 1975’s Grammy-winning Between the Lines.Visceral, mature songwriting, subtle in-song key shifts, and unique arrangements lend a jazzy sophistication to this compilation of folk, country, and blues, recorded at Nashville’s storied Sound

Overview

Billie’s Bones, Janis Ian’s 18th studio effort, has much in common with 1975’s Grammy-winning Between the Lines.Visceral, mature songwriting, subtle in-song key shifts, and unique arrangements lend a jazzy sophistication to this compilation of folk, country, and blues, recorded at Nashville’s storied Sound Emporium.Highlights include the title track, which lays down a haunting, syncopated groove while paying homage to Ian’s hero, Billie Holiday. “My Tennessee Hills” pairs Ian’s halcyon alto with Dolly Parton’s trilling soprano in an unabashedly sentimental ballad that sounds like an instant country classic. “Matthew” imagines the 1998 hate-crime murder of Matthew Shepard. Against a slow, bluesy vamp, Ian delivers her bittersweet thoughts on “what makes a man a man” in dulcet tones, getting her message across effectively rather than stridently.There are perhaps one or two songs here that feel superfluous, but Ian’s fans surely won’t complain. Not to be missed.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Joe Viglione
Decades after their initial burst on the pop scene certain serious artists conjure up special recordings deserving of extra attention. A Jackie DeShannon will deliver something stunning like her wonderful You Know Me disc while Ian Hunter strikes hard with his powerful Rant. Janis Ian takes a more restrained approach, but the result is just as masterful on Billie's Bones, a collection of 13 songs recorded over three days in Nashville at Sound Emporium from June 9-11, 2003. Dolly Parton adds a complementary vocal to "My Tennessee Hills" as Janis takes the listener all over the world -- the beautiful "Paris in Your Eyes" preceding the instrumental "Marching on Glasgow," the poet taking the journey from the Southern states to Amsterdam as well. This is not a "folk" album, the always creative Janis Ian finding different melodies on her guitar giving a distinct flavor to each tune and the bevy of thoughtful lyrics. The title track is inspired by a previous work the artist published in her 1968 book Who Really Cares, Poems by Janis Ian. The lyrics to it open up the 14-page booklet while the original poem closes out the insert. "Billie is my idol, I wander through the desert of her later years," she writes in the earlier version concluding with "Tell them I am ash...and I have no tongue." The song has another perspective for the story: "All these years and all I've learned is just how brilliantly I fail." There is no failure here on this successful light rock collection displaying all sorts of musical elements -- the touch of country in "My Tennessee Hills," a jazz feel on "Matthew," the soft introspection of "Amsterdam." As the great Jimmy Miller put the Blind Faith album together in three days after the supergroup tried for months to record, Ian takes her paint brush and in three days creates an album that contains multiple ideas that entertain as they unravel in a unique and impressive fashion. It is a beautiful and fulfilling disc from her vast repertoire.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/24/2004
Label:
Oh Boy
UPC:
0094012002923
catalogNumber:
29

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Janis Ian   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Keyboards
Dolly Parton   Vocals
Richard Davis   Bass,Upright Bass
Jim Brock   Percussion,Drums
Dan Dugmore   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Dobro,Pedal Steel Guitar,Electric Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar,Guitar (Nylon String)
Harry Stinson   Percussion,Drums,Vocals
Philip Clark   Overdubs
Chad Carlson   Vocals

Technical Credits

Skip Ewing   Composer
Woody Guthrie   Composer
Buddy Mondlock   Composer
Janis Ian   Composer,Producer
Jeff Balding   Producer,Engineer
Lisa Powers   Cover Photo,Tray Card
Marc Moreau   Producer,Engineer
John Saylor   Engineer
Philip Clark   Engineer
Jimmy Collins   Composer
David Bryant   Engineer
Chad Carlson   Engineer
David Bryant   Engineer

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >