By Frank Larue
She is a Grammy-nominated artist from North Carolina, and her native heritage is part Tuscarora and part Lumbee. Her fourth CD New Moon Born “is a change for me,” she says, “and it’s about not always having answers in your life, and not having expectations. It’s saying, here’s what I am; let’s make things as best as we can make them.”
New Moon Born sets the tone of the CD with the Sam Cooke classic “A Change is Gonna Come,” featuring Derek Miller on guitar. Searching for her roots while moving forward in her music was the premise of her Grammy-nominated third CD American Indian, and it remains a powerful force on New Moon Born. “We know the things that happened when the Europeans came over. We know the atrocities,” she says. “I wanted to touch on the positive things, like the beauty of the land, how things were for natives thousands of years ago.”
There is a strong R&B musical influence in much of the material, and Jana seems comfortable working within a groove, exemplified in “Solid Ground”—one of the best songs on New Moon Born. “I will be your solid ground / The safe harbour you never found/ I will be your heart reborn/ The shelter in your endless storm.” The song “Take me Back” also reflects a solid R&B feel and Jana’s strong vocals. Producer Stephan Galfas (who has worked with Kool & The Gang) deserves kudos for his production work. Jana is more introspective in “Sunday Morning” and pours her heart out in “Lost in Lies” a song filled with the anguish and pain of lost love and the duplicity that usually accompanies the end of relationships. “When heaven starts to cry/ and tears fly/ the memory will die.”
Vocally, Jana is somewhere between Rita Coolidge and Shania Twain. Jana also shares another characteristic with Shania: both women are blessed by Venus. Jana is strikingly beautiful, yet like Ms. Twain, she has held on to a sense of humility that only adds to her charm. She admits that she is an Urban Indian, and as such, “being an Urban Indian is to walk in both worlds but not compromise my cultural identity.” She says, “I cannot ignore who I am and where I came from. I am proud that I can maintain my traditional customs while living in today’s world.” A Canadian tour is on the agenda for Jana. She has yet to tour for audiences in Canada, and she looks forward to the opportunity.