Songwriter, Singer, Social Activist
Passionate, politically astute, and with phenomenal talent, singer-songwriter Janet Bates usher golden gift of musicianship to help make a difference in the world.
With her evocative three-octave contralto vocals and her gift for writing songs that seek to make the world a better place, Janet builds upon what musicians before her have done in previous decades: making the world sit up and pay attention.
In the spirit of Woody Guthrie, Phil Ochs and Pete Seeger, and recalling the lilting voice of Joan Baez, Canadian Janet Bates brings her talented songwriting and simply lovely vocals to the task of bringing to the forefront of public awareness, the issues of environmental degradation, the politics of war, and social justice for people around the world as well as in her adopted home, the U.S.A.
Janet is unabashedly an activist of the tallest order. With her fifth CD now in production, she has, in the five years since she took up her pen, taken on the war in Iraq, the policies of the U.S. government, social justice, corruption, greed, environmental degradation, and now, global warming.
“When you glance at your reflection, is it standing straight and tall?” she says, in her song “The Destination.” She exhorts us all to stand up for what is right, stand up and be counted. Like Gandhi, she believes that we each must “be the change you want to see in the world.”
Janet Bates was first inspired to become an activist by reading the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A few months before the 2003 American invasion of Iraq, Janet had attended a rally for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Picking up a flyer, she read from King’s 1967 speech “Beyond Vietnam” delivered at Riverside Church in New York City.
"There comes a time when silence is betrayal,” said King. Janet read the words and understood that she, too, needed to stand up and be counted. She needed to put forth her efforts to make a difference, to stand up for justice, be a vocal anti-war critic, and to become a significant force in social and environmental advocacy. Janet felt she needed to use her voice in whatever way she could, to speak for those people and ideas that could not advocate for themselves.
On the first day of the Iraq war, after years of playing guitar and covering the works of great songwriters such as Gordon Lightfoot and Joan Baez, Janet wrote the first of her
own songs, protesting the actions of the US government.
Janet Bates continues in that tradition today, seeking to open the eyes of political decision makers across the country, singing to make them hear, make them see what real change means, not just to the country, but the world.
We are perfect for small venues but have played to large crowds. Janet and the band are engaging with great sense of humour and a wealth of personal experiences. You will want to get to know us after the music stops and the evening continues. Has lived for several years in the US, moved 2011 back to Canada, band drummer still in Eugene Oregon
HONORABLE MENTION Mike Pinder’s (Moody Blues) Songwars Songwriting competition (Oct-Dec 09)
The walls come tumbling down
FINALIST Solar stage singer songwriter contest Vermont 2005 Time to go
FINALIST Susquehanna Singer songwriter contest 2008 The destination
SEMI FINALIST UK songwriting contest 2008 for 2 songs, Silver dollars and For all of his wealth
HONORABLE MENTION - West coast songwriters International songwriting contest 2008 Another child
FINALIST 4th annual Williamsburg songwriting contest 2007 Not in Kansas anymore
HONORABLE MENTION Unisong International songwriting contest 2006 Another child
SEMI FINALIST UK Songwriters contest 2005 Not in Kansas anymore
Janet Bates - Vocals, 12 String Guitar
Ken Bates - mandolin, bouzouki, Bodhran Drum
Mark Dievendorf - Djembe, dumbek, Cajon
cd 1 A TIME HAS COME.... Sept 04
CD2 THE COLOURS WILL COME BACK July 05
CD3 Another Child August 06
CD4 released November 2007
cd5 Little Spinner released Sept 2009
WHERE TIME GOES
THE WALLS COME TUMBLING DOWN
For All of his Wealth
a canary in a coal mine
THE LITTLE SPINNER
HE WAS BORN
LET THAT RICH MAN PAY FOR A CHANGE
GHOST OF A SOLDIER
WITH THIS SEED
TIME TO GO
COMING FOR YOU
HOW DEEP IS THE WATER?
Save OUR SOULS
NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE
"Kevin's Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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A Review of the Janet Bates CD "A Time Has Come..." ------------------------------------------...A Review of the Janet Bates CD
"A Time Has Come..."
"A Time Has Come..."
by Janet Bates
copyright 2003, 2004
This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 10/04
"Kevin's Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
This is the initial release of Janet Bates and two heapings of praise are immediately well-deserved:
1) She did it right, not on the cheap. Her liner notes thankfully contain complete lyrics and the genesis for each song, items that are too often missing from many first efforts.
2) She has an exceptional talent for dovetailing her song lyrics with engaging tunes and melodies.
But there is more to laud Bates for on this effort. A Canadian singer-songwriter and sometimes resident of Oregon, she has produced an earnest, socio-political release that provides commentary on local, national and international events, while showcasing the best, worst and moments-in-between that humanity has to offer.
The best offering is "A king song," a fairytale-like effort that chides the actions and arrogance of President Bush. She sings:
"...he spun stories to his people lest they find his true intent
the stories made them proud though they knew not what they meant..."
The following cut, "Neighbour," begins in a similar vein as if about President Bush's move into the White House but develops into more of a friendship/relationship gone awry over both perceived and real differences.
"American Soldier," written in reaction to a photograph in the New York Times of a weeping soldier, contains slight changes in the wording, and therefore the meaning, at the end of each succeeding verse.The opening verse, about a parade passing by, concludes with:
"...the crowd was blinded by the light
what they saw, they saw in black and white
American soldier going off to war..."
With the following verses, the soldier is actually in battle, loses some of his comrades and ultimately find himself alone, with no flags flying or trumpets sounding.
Bates also sings of Vietnam veterans, nuns imprisoned for acting on the swords-to-ploughshares admonition of Jesus, environmental concerns and refugees.
More personally, she includes a very touching and oh so accurate view of that most rewarding yet trying task of parenting a child. That song concludes with:
"...The clock on the wall shows twenty after eight
you argue with everything I say
you are late for school and I am late as well
if you care I really couldn't tell..."
Ending a failing relationship in "It doesn't matter," she finishes:
"...I am walking away without turning around
the man I once loved has been lost and not found
I saw him today somewhere deep in your eyes
I must leave quickly before I start to cry..."
Besides the subject matter of the material, listeners will enjoy the banjo and mandolin picking here, along with moments of violin, percussion and the previously praised instrumentation in which she encases her words. Bates' lyrics gently skewer, definitely display her values and are best when she she employs metaphor and veers from the literal. Her soprano vocals are clear and easy on the ears.
Janet Bates, on vocals and 12-string guitar, is assisted by Ken Bates on banjo, guitar and vocals; Gary Montesano on guitar and vocals; Rick Frank on harmonica and mandolin; Doug Jones on keyboards and piano; Tom Beckstrom on drums and percussion; Bobbie Bowlin on violin; Dawn McCauley-Smith on vocals; Jamie Morris on bass guitar; Steve Montana on mandolin.
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Janet Bates endears us with her heart-felt folk music. As an activist, she’s found a great avenue ...
Janet Bates endears us with her heart-felt folk music. As an activist, she’s found a great avenue in her music-writing. With a note of Celtic in her sound, she blends the sounds of banjo, mandolin, guitar, harmonica, violin, and percussion for a great folk rock album. Her songs deal with hot topics such as the war in Iraq, which is no surprise when you find out that her path towards songwriting happened at an anti-war rally when she read a quote from the late great Dr. Martin Luther King that seemed to urge her to vocalize her thoughts about the war. The result is astonishing and will appeal to the 50% of the nation that was and still is against this abhorrent administration and the Republican majority.
folk music review
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"The Colours Will Come Back" by Janet Bates and Instruments of Change copyright 2005 http://www..."The Colours Will Come Back"
by Janet Bates and Instruments of Change
This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 8/05
"Kevin's Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
With a voice residing in singing distance of Loreena McKennitt and songs nursed by a social consciousness, Janet Bates is back with her second CD. A Canadian, now living in Oregon, Bates continues applying a deft metaphorical touch throughout her songwriting.
Her opening cut, "Makayla," about an uprooted child lacking the traditional family and home, has the young girl riding an entertainment park merry-go-round. The one static quality in her life: uncertainty. "Women In Black" is a tribute to the worldwide protest groups that serve as a needed reminder of the death and maiming of innocents that accompanies all wars.
A search for inner peace drives the peripatetic ramblings of the character in "Time To Go." Cleverly using metaphor in "Not In Kansas Anymore," Bates examines the deficiencies of the characters from "The Wizard Of Oz" and interprets them in the context of life in present-day America.
"Owl" is a musical children's story that amplifies the degradation of the environment. The endless spiral of death and revenge is depicted in the U.K. traditional-sounding tune, "My Maiden Claire."
Preceded by the reading of Joe Hill's last will and testament, Bates sings the moving labor song "Joe Hill." This combination will stir even the coldest of hearts.
How fame and fortune causes some to forget their roots and the ones who helped along the way, is the arc of "He Is Coming Back For Me." An exiled Napoleon mulls over his choice of becoming an army general instead a more traditional mate and father in "Josephine."
Critical self-examination and coming to terms with oneself are the thrust of "The Stranger In Me." The following cut, "The Lion," is a tale of self-imprisonment similarly themed.
The life of the imported workers who perform housekeeping duties for fighters in war is explored in "Who Is Going To Pay The Price?"
Worrying whether the effect of taking a unilateral action in a relationship will result in personal happiness or sadness is the motif of 'Have I Gone Too Far?'. Countering this is a story of a couple deepening their connection in the closing cut, "The Promise I Will Keep."
This is a CD for those who enjoy thinking and feeling music. The sensitive and the spiritual are presented primarily in a context of life in today's world but on subjects applicable since time immemorial.
Special recognition need be given to the liner notes for this release. These notes win hands-down as the best of the year--nothing in the remaining months of 2005 will top this set. Besides lyrics and an explanation of how each song came to be created, there are superb color drawings accompanying each cut. This CD would be worth buying just to see this artistry.
Janet Bates, on vocals and 12-string guitar, is assisted by Ken Bates on banjo, bouzouki and vocals; Gary Montesano on guitar, harmonica and vocals; Doug Jones on keyboards, guitar, bass and vocals; Bill Reed on fiddle; Tom Gossage on percussion; Bill Gossage bass; Gary Schwartz on electric guitar; Mustapha Stokely on lead guitar.
Women In Black (4:26)
Time To Go (3:13)
Not In Kansas Anymore (3:09)
Maiden Claire (4:19)
Joe Hill (3:26) Hayes/Robinson
He Is Coming Back For Me (4:23) JBates/KBates/Montesano/Jones
The Stranger In Me (3:28)
A Lion (4:15)
Who Is Going To Pay The Price? (3:46)
Have I Gone Too Far? (3:56)
The Promise I Will Keep (2:33)
All songs by Janet Bates, unless as noted.
An extensive set list that is structured around the specific venue. We have set lists that can be all sociopolitical and we can also do set lists that are not political at all.(Well almost none at all)
There are no upcoming dates at this time.