Jan Krist

Jan Krist is a singer/songwriter who started in Detroit but now lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  She has toured nationally, playing most of the major folk venues.  Though she has a solo career, she’s also been a part of many musical collaborations.  The Yellow Room Gang is a collective of 8 musicians originally from Michigan who gathered in the living room of one of the members to share and critique songs.  They have produced four albums (so far) and often perform as 5, 6 or occasionally all 8.  Jan often plays and records with Jim Bizer, also of the Yellow Room Gang.

 

Her song “Hope,” here performed with her husband Alan Finkbeiner on the drum, is a riveting powerful paean to the driving force to stand up to violence and oppression.

Krist covers many topics in her songs, but she often includes songs with political bite.  Her “It’s a Pirate’s Life for Me” with the Yellow Room Gang echoes the launch of the U.S. invasion of Iraq with it’s “shock and awe.”  As a Christian folk musician Jan has often been invited to play the Christian music festival Cornerstone in Illinois.  Shortly after the invasion of Iraq she was given only one song to play on the main stage.  In the face of a generally conservative audience she chose “Holy War and Politicians.”  One attendee said it was the most memorable moment of the whole festival.

Here Jan is featured again at Cornerstone back in 1994 singing her questioning anti-war song “Curious” (first song in this set).  Her incredible lyric writing is evident in the lines:  “And if all our good intentions simply pave the road to hell, are the parking lots there paved by apathetic souls as well?  I am curious, curious!”  Again, “We spend our mercy as if we’ve got too many debts.”

“Blessed Are They” off her “Wounded Me, Wounded You” album is a beautiful elegant reworking of the Beatitudes with a special blessing for peacemakers.