Ethan Jano – ‘I’ll Be Fine’ - looking outwards with understanding driven inwards(January 19, 2015)
No matter how regularly I hear a young artist deliver music with the level of bite you would expect from a time-seasoned veteran there’s always a certain pleasant surprise. Absolutely no criticism intended, but when I look at a youthful face on an album cover I often wonder: “How does he write songs like that?” Along with that is marvelling that chronicling experienced-filled incidents can exist within the portals youth. Well, Ethan Jano’s debut album, ‘I’ll Be Fine’ raises precisely those feelings. It also raises the questions: “From what depths does he craft the songs he writes?” and then: “Where does that voice come from?” that’s because Jano possess a voice that drives his songs with jackhammer power.
From the punch of title track, ‘I’ll Be Fine’, through the incisive essence of ‘The Burn’ and the subtle sensibilities within‘All I Need Is You’ to the resilience of ‘It Still Remains’ with its refusal to yield, the honesty is unrelenting. Unwavering and angry or steadfast and pensive, Jano’s vocals have the scope to grab your attention. The songs on this album carry the expectation of the lived-in face of knowledge showing the adversity-trailed lines of experience. What you see is a man that carries the heritage of his community and reflects that through personal commentary on private and wider spheres of striving, hardship and endurance. This is a man looking outwards with understanding driven inwards by seeing the world around him and his place within it through eyes that take in all they see.
Not the easiest listening in the world, ‘I’ll Be Fine’ covers tough subjects through perceptive and cutting lyrics. Jano’s voice uses a gutsy edge to make each word count, the tunes are brimming with inspired hooks and the overall impression is one of fearless revelation backed with a sense of spirit. The last point any reference to his lack of years should convey is any sense of condescension – there’s no undermining Jano, his songs stand strong, his music is powerful - I say that because he’s that good. And if I’m not writing about burgeoning success in a few years I’ll be stunned.
‘I’ll Be Fine’ releases on 10 February - you can find out more here: www.ethanjanomusic.com
Reviewer: Tim Carroll