Thursday, April 23, 2009
Posted by LeAnn Stephenson
This morning I’m chin deep in fellas dressed in short sleeved white button downs, black ties and pants and pocket protectors. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit and my head is beginning to spin, but it's my computer that is doing the better Linda Blair impression and truly messing with my world! However, my knights in shinning VW Beetle are here!
So, to calm my mind and soothe my soul I need to be transported to a kinder gentler place - one without RAM, CRASHES or SYSTEM ERRORS. And the remedy has been supplied by a fellow “old soul” and favorite friend. He introduced me to an amazing artist that I would like to share with you, and her name is Janet Klein. I think she is quite possibly one of the most charming people I've ever been introduced to!
I have discovered that it is virtually impossible to listen to singer, chanteuse Janet Klein and her band, The Parlor Boys, without smiling. Her love of lost classics, vaudeville melodies, and Yiddish songs of a bygone era are brought back to effervescent life through their stylings. Klein might seem at first to be a novelty act, with her sleek bob hairdo and vintage clothing, but when she opens her mouth to sing the obscure, naughty songs from the 1910s, 20s and 30s, her amazing talent and passion for curating these tunes is evident.
Her debut album, 1998's Come Into My Parlor, is almost a solo record, with Klein's vocals and ukulele occasionally supported by, John Reynolds' guitar and producer and husband Robert Loveless' accordion, mandolin, harmonica and triangle. Klein's second album, Paradise Wobble, was credited to Janet Klein and her Parlor Boys, and, like the first album, was bedecked in vintage photos and perfect replications of early 20th century graphic design. Subsequent albums, including her newest release, Ready For You, can be found here.
She performs with her band mostly in the Los Angeles area and continues to utilize her collection of vintage photographic matter in graphic design projects, including two miniature books, "Love is A Boomerang" and "Take A Picture of the Moon", and has plans for a DVD of musical film shorts and live concert footage. There are two must see videos that perfectly illustrate Klein’s charm and eccentricities. The first is Klein singing an Irving Berlin tune entitled, "Cohen Owes Me Ninety-seven Dollars" at the West Coast Ragtime Festival in Sacramento, California - it’s hilarious! The other is an instructional Ukulele video that can be found here and is a charming example of her manner and gentle spirit. Her Facebook and MySpace pages will lead you to her site where you can find their tour dates. This Sunday, April 26th at 7 pm, Janet the boys will be "Backstage" at the Coffee Gallery in Altadena, California.
There . . . all calm . . . now, to find my Ukulele.