Janelle Lauer
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Janelle Lauer


Band R&B Blues


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"Singer wins much 'Respect' with Brucemore show"

It takes guts to end your cabaret show with an Aretha Franklin cover.
Singer Janelle Lauer certainly gained "Respect" on Friday at Brucemore's second annual Cabaret in the Courtyard, proving she is singer enough to cover Aretha. Her show contains 23 songs ranging from funk to blues to Broadway, all of which are delivered with the spirited self-confidence of a true professional.
"When you think back on your life," she sang without accompaniment as she took the stage Friday, "do you think about the memories or do you think about the times that you smiled or the times that you cried?"
From here, Lauer, colorfully dressed in a bold pink blouse, was joined by a five-piece band and two backup singers, her a cappella original song "Memory," morphing into a fully backed cover of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?"
Lauer has surrounded herself by some of the area's best musicians for this show, including parents Ed and Jane Pini on guitar and background vocals, respectively.
Also joining her on stage are Doug Elliott on backup vocals, Gerard Estella on keyboards/guitar, Greg Kanz on drums, Dave Ollinger on bass and Phil Koopman on percussion.
Lauer is a commanding presence on stage, a strong vocalist who can both belt to the heavens and deliver quiet restraint when the emotion of the song calls for it. Her cover of "Summertime" is as big and bluesy and throaty as her rendition of "To the Fallen" is as simple and quiet and contained.
Other highlights of the evening included a duet with mother Jane Pini, an original song from her forthcoming December album and a song from local composer Rob Nassif.
Jim Kern, assistant director of Brucemore, opened the show by introducing Lauer as "the diva," Janelle Lauer. By show's end, Lauer had certainly lived up to the introduction; the sold-out audience spontaneously leaping to their feet singing, dancing, and basking in Lauer's powerful light as she belted out Franklin's "Respect."
-Joe Jennison - Cedar Rapids Gazette

"C.R. singer Lauer revs up the energy on 'Change'"

Janelle Lauer dabbles in soul, funk, rock and R&B on her second studio album, "Change."

But the album's best song might be "Make a Change," an entirely acappella number that gives the Cedar Rapids singer's luminous voice its most room to shine. Lauer wrote most of the album's songs, and "Make a Change" also serves as one of her best lyrical outings, with the song's narrator looking back at life with more questions than answers.

"Make a Change" is the album's second-to-last song, providing a nice transition to closer "Walking In Memphis," which Lauer and bandleader Gerard Estella tackle with soulful aplomb. It's a stark difference to the album's opening tracks, "Hit It on the 1" and "Real Man", both of which find Lauer and her band busting out with a dance-floor ready blast of funky R&B.

"Santa Fe" and "Long Time Coming" find Lauer excelling in her mid-tempo comfort zone. "Santa Fe" slowly builds to a catchy chorus buffeted by girl-group backing vocals, while "Long Time Coming" is smooth and soulful from start to finish.

Lauer is one of Eastern Iowa's premier singers, and it's great to see her shocased on "Change", an album that should please her longtime fans and win over some new ones. - Cedar Rapids Gazette Nov. 20, 2008


Change, full-length studio LP, SAVAJ Entertainment, LLC, November, 2008
5 Winters At the Bighouse, full-length LP, SPT Theatre Company, January 2007.
Turn the Corner, full-length studio LP, SAVAJ Entertainment, LLC, February, 2005.
Janelle Lauer Live at Liars, full-length LP of live recordings, Liars Theatre Publishing, December, 2003.



No matter the size of the crowd or the tune at hand, Janelle Lauer always gives herself to her audience in unrestrained, yet carefully executed performances that showcase her vocal flexibility, natural musical understanding, and easy show manner. Her performances and recordings have an originality that leaves an indelible impression on her audience and brings them back for more. Janelle’s soulful connection with her audience continues to create a devout following of fans who respect her integrity, sincerity, originality and - above all else - her talent.
Janelle's first studio CD, Turn the Corner, was released in February of 2005 on her own label, SAVAJ Entertainment, LLC and her newest album, Change, was released November 24th, 2008!