The "Better Times" Project

Janis Ian & Friends

Alaska’s Hobo Jim

Better Times Will Come by Janis Ian Performed by Alaska's Hobo Jim
  1. Better Times Will Come Hobo Jim 2:23


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Play this on the jukebox and listen to a lot of other versions too.
You can also download all the different musical versions, in the order they went up.

Check Hobo Jim’s Facebook page and YouTube channel for more info.

From Janis: I came to Nashville in the mid-80’s, broke, scared, and alone. Somehow, a local newspaper got wind of it and published an article touching on my troubles, mentioning that in order to support my mother (who had MS) I’d sold most of my belongings, including my Bosendorfer piano and a collection of antiquities I’d been putting together since my early 20’s. One night, I finished an in-the-round at the Bluebird and headed for a quick trip to the bathroom. On my return, I found a beautiful piece of pottery on my chair, with a note that said “Here’s a start to your new collection – Hobo Jim”. I asked around and got his number, then called to thank him. Hobo’s wife Cyndi had one of the best lines ever; when she picked up the phone I politely said “Hi, this is Janis Ian. Is Hobo Jim there please?” there was a moment of silence, and then she said “Omigod, do you know who you are?!?!” We still laugh about it. They’ve been a mainstay in my life for 30 years and more, hosting us when Pat and I visited Alaska (and Pat caught a salmon, which we ate!), and spending time together from Nashville to Florida. 

Writer of the official Iditarod Trail song, Hobo’s one of the most amazing performers I know. He can sing for six hours, unbroken, and never repeat a song. A great songwriter, too; I’ve been lucky enough to write a couple with him. One of my favorites is “Empty” (from the Hunger album); Jim had the idea, and the great beginning “I took a ride down memory lane tonight, and every couple I passed by made me wonder why, I let you go”. He’s taught me everything from knife sharpening to outdoor grilling; given me books by Mishima and Rimbaud, and is probably the most educated person I know who never bothered getting a degree. (Though he does have an honorary Masters from the U. of Alaska.) Enjoy his version!

(Janis Ian)

Better times, better times will come.
Better times, better times will come.
When this world learns to live as one,
oh, better times will come

When we greet each dawn without fear
knowing loved ones soon will be near
When the winds of war
cannot blow any more
Oh, better times will come


Though we live each day as our last
we know someday soon it will pass
We will dance, we will sing
in that never-ending spring
Oh, better times will come