The CD release party was a night to remember. The music was perfect, the mood was perfect and the ladies known as Sweethearts of the Rodeo were perfect but there really is so much more to these two ladies than meets the eye.
Both ladies are Moms and Kristine has even become a grandmother recently to baby Ava. Janis loves watching her sister take the role of grandmother and she can’t wait to become a grandmother herself. I sat down to chat with Janis about the music, life and coming back to the country music scene after 16 years and this is what she had to say:
Q Sixteen years and then you release Restless. Is restless how you felt?
Q I was there at your CD release party.
A You were?
A Did you enjoy it?
Q I loved it. It was fabulous. I didn’t want it to end and I think that is how everybody in the room felt.
A Ah well you know it’s funny my sister and I—Kristine and I, we were talking about we were starting to get real nervous you know a few hours before the show and Kristine is the one that said hey, wait a minute, we have nothing to prove, this is a celebration. This is a celebration of the release of this project after all this time and we are just celebrating with all of our friends out there. We don’t have to go out there and prove anything. That was the perfect thing to say because it immediately made it all about fun, completely totally about having fun up there and Kristine and I always have fun when we are together no matter what we are doing, especially singing. That was the theme and that did become the direction of the performance when we got up there and it was just totally fun.
Q So you are saying that you were actually nervous before Kristine said that?
A Yes, Kristine and I tend to get nervous before—it is just like a stage fright sort of thing before a performance. I just think its pre-show jitters you know where you have got that hour before you are going on and so you start going back and looking at your make up and your hair. I think it’s just pent up energy. I think it’s like a horse, those race horses when they put them in their little pens right there right before they say, “and their off.”
A You know they start jumping around a little bit and I think that’s how it is for us you know? We are just anxious to get up there.
Q Okay, I can’t believe you just compared you and your sister—you compared yourself to a race horse? You are so funny.
A It’s kind of like you get that same you know jumping up and down sort of thing. It’s like oh come on all ready. I wish we could go up there right now instead of in forty-five minutes. It’s that kind of thing.
Q There are some artists that get stage fright so bad that they get sick.
A You know it is and I suspect my sister would say the same because we are so much alike, it dissipates the minute you do walk out on the stage. The minute you step out there it’s gone and you are all about oh boy, this is a blast. This is fun. Oh look at the great audience. That’s for us that is what happens. The minute we are up there it’s all good.
Q I also noticed—I love the banter that goes on between you and Kristine.
A Thank you.
Q The back and forth is adorable and she really does like to tease you.
A She does. She is a stinker and she’s just so mischievous. My sister she has always been that way. She just knows I mean it’s so funny because she and I never plan what we are going to say. We don’t have anybody write that stuff for us. We just take up on stage what happened that day you know and what’s going on in our lives that become incorporated into what we say to each other. So when I am tuning my guitar that’s when she leaps out at me and tries to get a couple of jabs in there because she thinks I am not paying attention.
Q Oh well by saying that your seven years older than her?
A Oh yes she has been saying—that one she tries to get in every show. That is the one thing she tries to get a good jab in and it’s so funny because the audience always laughs at that one and it’s just a funny thing that she has been saying for a long time.
Q Well I was like no way. Then I looked it up.
A Yeah, we are two and a half years apart.
Q I know.
A It is funny, I am always wondering where she is going to try and sneak that in and maybe I won’t hear her say it this time you know but I usually catch her.
Q I have to tell you that the love shines through. It is all over the place.
A You know it’s just a lifetime spent together with your sister who happens to be your best friend and it just keeps getting better and better and better. We are so cognoscente of the fact that wow, we get this opportunity to get up there and do this some more at this point in our lives. We get to do this again and how much fun is this? It’s almost like this age we are that much more aware of how lucky we are to have that opportunity and a great band and fans that want to come out and get up there and do that together and love each other so much.
Q Have either one of you become grandmothers?
A Kristine just—now I am ribbing her about this one. She’s a Grandma. She just became a Grandma I think four months ago. Her oldest daughter had a little baby girl named Ava.
Q So pretty, that’s a pretty name.
A Ava, yeah A-V-A.
Q Am I allowed to print that?
A Oh sure. Kristine would be proud as she could be to have that mentioned. She is telling anyone she can about that one and I don’t blame her and I have seen a side of my sister that this is just one of those precious things in life I think. I stayed there—I was with my sister the whole time at the hospital watching her reaction and being her support to my sister while her daughter was having the baby and what a special time in life to be able to be there and see that and witness that and see your best friend and your sister take on this new role right before your eyes. It just was a really wonderful moment you know in my life.
Q It’s instant too. So after sixteen years you release restless. Why sixteen years?
A We were raising our babies and being wives and taking care of our families.
Q So you have released Restless yourself?
A Yes and it has been so rewarding. People order the CD through the website and I write to them and the copy of the CD is autographed. You know we write little notes to our fans and we know exactly what region they are from and they write notes to us and it makes it so much more personal. I tell you we have never had so much fun with it. I just love it. I just love it because we would never know any of that information if we had a label involved.
Q Well yeah, you wouldn’t be anywhere near your fans and they wouldn’t be anywhere near you.
A Exactly. We wouldn’t know who these people were or where they were from or see any little notes they wrote to us or requests or anything they need which we love addressing all of those. We love to sign a picture to Aunt Clara or whatever they want so it has been a gas. It has been so much fun and the other cool thing about that is our next project is going to be that much easier to release. It’s not going to be another 16 years. This time it will just be probably another two years before we have another product ready.
Q Oh great.
A So that is another good thing about it is we are our own bosses and we have fans already out there. That’s another good thing. It is allowing us to reconnect with our fans because you know we had all those top ten hits and we did all that touring in the 80’s and the 90’s and those people are resurfacing and coming back out and looking for this record and we are hooking them up with it. That is a bit of an advantage with having your own label is if you have a fan base.
Q Absolutely and you are already have a built in fan base.
A We do and they really are amazing fans. They have been asking for an album for years and years and years and that is why whenever somebody orders one through the website I just sit down and write them a note and thank them and some of these people I remember. I actually remember them from venues signing autographs with them so it’s really great. It is a great experience.
Q I know that you had a couple right up front At the CD release party that drove in from Michigan.
A I just can’t believe it. I mean it’s the biggest compliment.
Q It’s touching. It floors you. It shows you how much they love what you do.
A It is a huge vote of confidence and it does have that effect and it makes you feel like wow, somebody like’s this music and they enjoy it that much. It just gives it that much more meaning.
Q Ah hah and it makes you want to do more and it encourages you.
A It lights a fire underneath us. It really does.
Q In today’s computer age there is no reason why people can’t be their own boss but it is a lot of work to be an Indie Artist.
A Yes it is. Keeping up with the social media and when you are an Independent artist you have to assemble your group.
Q Right, you have your own team now but you know what, you and Kristine get to be the bosses.
A You are right and I am telling you I am just having so much fun with it and it’s so empowering to know, wow now this guy is doing a great job with the publicity so the next project he’s on board for sure and then knowing what your distribution is going to be and garnering all of that together, it’s very empowering knowing that you can assemble something like that and release a product or a project or a musical product.
Q Well you are true businesswomen now. You are not just artists but you are businesswomen.
A It’s really a lot of fun. I love it.
Q Yes and getting close to the fans there is nothing like it. Are you touring this album?
A Yes. That is the plan. We are hoping to get out there and play. We love to play all kinds of venues. Clubs are always a lot of fun and the small performance theatres and then we love playing with our band. The band you saw us with was just over the top incredibly wonderful so we hope to do some dates with a band like that but we have a couple of different ways we can perform too. We also can perform as a duo more like an evening with sort of thing. So I hope that we get to tour and support this album in many types of different types of venues. State Fairs, we used to do the Fairs a lot and it would sure be great to get out there and do some of those. We have a few things on the books already. All dates will be on the website. It would be great to mention that you can download Restless from Amazon and ITunes but the only place you can get the physical CD and it will be autographed is through the website.
Q Okay and it will be autographed by both of you?
A Yes. I love seeing who orders the CD and being able to touch base with them and say thank you.
Q And I bet you get personal stories from them too?
A We do, I have so many boxes and boxes of great letters from fans about how the music has affected them over the years you know so it is great to see them as they come in on a new project so that’s really fun.
Q Well it is a great CD. Who picked the title cut and who wrote it?
A Well the title cut is Restless and that was the last song that I wrote and the last song added to the project. I was writing with two other songwriters that are featured on this album. Their names are Deanna Walker and Rick Beresford and they are a wonderful married couple. Just fantastic songwriters and we wrote together I think seven songs on this album we co-wrote together. I went to them and I said hey, we need one more song for this album and I said you know we are kind of missing that way up-tempo kind of sassy kind of funny kind of silly song so I started playing a thing on my guitar that I had been fooling around with and you know pretty soon we realized that we had this funny song that we were trying to throw every rhyme we could think of in there. Then we thought let’s see if your sister can sing this. We tried to make it very vocally challenging and wordy, funny and lots of rhyme. So we were just trying to throw everything but the kitchen sink in there and when I played it for Kristine she looked at me like you’re kidding? Wow, this is a lot to handle but she pulled it off and made it look so easy. The reason we chose it for the title cut is we were restless. We are restless and were restless to put this new CD out there. We couldn’t wait till it was finally out there so we put it out ourselves so it kind of reflects our attitude very much so.
I could have spent the rest of the day chatting with Janis but I forced myself to say goodbye and I look forward to speaking to her again. For now, we all just have to look them up at their website and make sure you order yourself a little Restless for Christmas at www.SweetheartsoftheRodeo.com