California-based Americana singer-songwriter Janean Christine Mariani, in her new single, ‘Red Number 5’, knows all too well that stray encounters can often signify a new beginning, a new start, a new motivation to take a risk and change a life that’s spiralling out of control.
As she always does in her songs, Mariani brings the story to life with wit and warmth, impeccable detail, and wry observations on the human condition and the follies of romantic relationships. In ‘Red Number 5’ she sings with the insight and depth of feeling of a person who has been there before; and well may she, when you consider that settting forth on a career as an independent music artist is akin to placing a long shot bet. You have to have confidence in yourself, or you’ll never get a chance to see where the wheel stops.
As with her 2020 single, the re-recording of fan favourite, ‘She Said She’s Leaving’, ‘Red Number 5’ sees Mariani collaborate with Sheffield UK artist, John Reilly, of the pop-rock band Boy On A Dolphin. Together they take Mariani’s tale of heartbreak and redemption, and match it to music that’s every bit as engaging as the storytelling. Reilly’s production is simultaneously raucous and reflective, rocking and poised, and while the emphasis is on Mariani’s nicely-wrought verse, he’s made room for an incredible guitar solo, along with a swelling organ.
The clip for ‘Red Number 5’ is, essentially a lyric video, but when you consider how thoughtful Mariani is about her lyrics, it’s quite fitting. That’s not to say there’s not action as well – there’s long stretches of highway, footage of the places name-checked in the song, and images of the protagonist in flight from a dreary life to a better one. The clip – and the narrative – starts in New Orleans, and proceeds north through Tunica, Mississippi, and ends in Memphis. It’s pure American storytelling about a predicament that’s sadly universal, and each glittering phrase feels like a promise of better things to come.