Janelle performing solo at The Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan

"I love Janelle's music because of how sincere it is. There's no pretense. She inspires me to be as generously personal in my own work as she is in hers."

Sony Recording Artist

On the one hand, it might seem surprising for a longtime world-traveling jazz clarinetist and saxophonist to suddenly pick up a guitar and start writing folk songs.

On the other hand, for Janelle Haskell it also makes perfect sense.

On many an afternoon, as Janelle walked along Broadway from the Manhattan School of Music after jazz classes up to her apartment in Harlem, it wouldn't be the soulful sounds of John Coltrane playing in her headphones, but rather the soft strumming, sweet melodies, and soul-stirring stories of Joni Mitchell.

I am on a lonely road and I am traveling, looking for the key to set me free.

Almost as though called by the words from one of Joni's songs, after 10 years in the big and often lonely city, Janelle returned to her hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan. She went there looking for many things: peace and quiet, wide open sky, and also something she couldn't quite put her finger on.

But years later when the pandemic hit and all of Michigan was put on lockdown, Janelle found just what she'd been looking for in the most unlikely of places: a dusty old guitar that had been hanging on her wall for years.

"It was the most unexpected thing," Janelle recalls. "One day I was sitting at my desk working and I looked over at this guitar on the wall. With what seemed like all the time in the world now suddenly at my fingertips, I walked over, picked it up, and started playing any chords I could remember. A few months later I wrote my first song, Michigan, about coming home."

In anticipation of Janelle's debut singer-songwriter album are six videos below. The album is a collection of songs about many things but that all come down to one: love. It is songs about sisterly love, romantic love gone by, self-love, and love for the things in our lives that matter to us most - all performed by a woman falling more in love with a new instrument in the guitar each day.

Wondering what happened to Janelle Reichman? A note from the artist:

When I decided to embark upon an entirely new musical venture in songwriting, I quickly realized that with Google delivering 25,600 (and counting!) jazz-related results for the search "Janelle Reichman," it was possible that no one would be able to find my folk music through all the jazz if I used the same name. Thus, I decided to use my middle name (and my mother's last name) Haskell. I feel this name will serve me - and the music - well.

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