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In 1998 my friend Niamh Kavanagh was making an album and she recorded some cover versions of a Canadian singer songwriter Jann Arden. I then listened to Jann’s original versions and I have been hooked ever since.
Jann Arden is a huge recording artist in Canada and had international success in 1994 with her “Living Under June” album. She has just released her 14th album “These Are The Days” and has released more than 40 singles. She has been nominated for 19 Juno awards and won 8 of them. She has contributed to movie soundtracks and is a regular on Canadian television. Leonard Cohen visited her in the studio when she was recording one of his songs and wrote to her afterwards to tell her how her version “stays with him”.
Aside from music Jann has written four books and regularly appeared in challenges with TV Host Rick Mercer which caused her to become a viral sensation to a new generation of fans. Her live shows are as popular for her story-telling as for her music. She has even hosted a gala at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal and is in pre-production on a sitcom.
Jann’s mother is a huge fixture in her life. Her parents lived 60 meters from her on her land. A few years ago Jann’s father suffered a stroke resulting in severe memory loss around the same time her mother began showing signs of Alzheimers which was diagnosed two days after her father died.
I spoke to Jann on a surprisingly snowy morning in Calgary, just 6 weeks after she had finally agreed to put her mother in a Memory Care Centre. She was dealing with the emotion of this and her mother’s distraught dog. After we spoke her day became even more strange; the first chapters of James Comey’s autobiography had been released and he had used a quote from her on the first page of chapter one. If you were one of the people asking “Who is Jann Arden?”. Well this is the podcast that will tell you everything you need to know.
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