The nature of the singer/songwriter is an ambiguous thing in the 21st Century. The very attributes required to define the term have become increasingly questionable, and at a time awash with artists that embrace the label, its becomes ever more difficult to distinguish between those who actually play an integral part in the creative process of their music and those who don’t. Should a singer/songwriter be someone who writes all their own music individually? Or is it acceptable that many artists that carry the label today work as part of a collective song-writing team? And not only that, but questions revolving around genre also infiltrate the debate. Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when someone describes themselves as a ‘singer/songwriter,’ is that of an acoustic guitar wielding troubadour stood poised on the stage with nothing but their instrument for accompaniment. But today that impression can all too often feel outdated and out of touch.
Ian Janco is an artist that embraces the changing façade of the singer/songwriter, and his self-released album ‘Stronghold’ demonstrates his willingness to blend genres, as well as remaining faithful to the traditional view of what it means to be a singer/songwriter.
Originally from California, Ian arrived in Liverpool last year with an impressive back-catalogue of original material after a five month tour busking and sightseeing around Europe. It was during this period of travelling in which the songs that make up his new album came together. The result is an eclectic mix of tracks that are individually stylistic, yet each one still retaining the traits that make Ian such a familiar songwriter to us all. From the opening lines of the albums first track, ‘I could change,’ as listeners, we instantly come to understand that this is not only an album that will take us on the song-writers journey (quite literally to Paris), but an album that will also offer us a vivid insight into how Ian perceives this world we share. This effect is consistent throughout, from the life-affirming and celebratory ‘Beautiful Mystery,’ to the rockabilly-esque ‘One more step,’ and although Ian is unafraid of delving into different genres, nevertheless he never fails to affirm in his song-writing that he understands the need to challenge yourself, without steering too far from what’s comfortable.
‘Stronghold’ is a great collection of songs in the sense that it not only demonstrates a competent crafts-man at work, but it lets us escape into a world of both serenity and contemplation; ardent youth and age old wisdom.
For anyone enthused by the idea of a singer/songwriter who uses his music to relate a positive, and perhaps even spiritual view of life to his listeners, then I can guarantee that Ian Janco is the man. And when all of this is conveyed through the medium of lovable and simplistic songs, sung directly from the mouth of the writer, what is there not to fall for?
Stronghold is available on both iTunes and Amazon:
For more information on Ian and when you can catch him live visit: