When you think of modern day Blues singers, one name always comes to the fore-front, Janiva Magness.
With her latest release ‘original’ Ms. Magness provides us with a deeper and more satisfying look into her psyche and soul than ever before. An eleven song release, in which she has co-written or written seven of the tunes, and took the leap of faith to release it on her own label Fathead Records. I mention this because at the core of the majority of artists is an unspoken fear of failure. The pressure to stay vital can sometimes translate into playing it safe. Ms. Magness has shunned that philosophy and has turned out to be one of her very best efforts in a star studded successful career.
‘original’ starts out with ‘Let Me Breathe‘, a piercing look inside her heart and soul. Singing of the painful loss of a lover, and how it has set in and affected her entire being it is a song that captures the ‘every-person’ situation, it is a song of life and its inherent roller coaster ride.
Moving forward we get to the crossroads where the Blues meets Gospel. ‘I Need A Man‘, a simple statement that questions one’s current situation and takes on the bigger question often summed up as ‘Is You Or Ain’t You My Baby?’ The transition from the soul searching loneliness of ‘Let Me Breathe‘ to the hard rocking declaration of this tune exemplifies Ms. Magness’ ability to take on any type of song and deliver it with professionalism and heartfelt understanding.
The strains of ‘The Hard Way’ is a fantastic soul ballad. It recalls the hey-day of Stax and Motown ballads that painted our early years with multicolored understanding of life’s journey and love’s unpredictable path.
All of these songs are life’s lessons put to words, and in doing that Ms. Magness has opened up herself to our eyes and ears. We welcome her songs with great joy for these are truly the songs of our collective lifetime, each of us has felt these but could not put them to words. It is evident that Ms. Magness has treated her Muse well, and that they are on equal footing, We look forward to many more aural treats from her and her band of brothers. So a shout out to her producer and collaborator Dave Darling, and her outstanding band who so skillfully capture the music of her soul, Zac Zunis, Gary Davenport, Jim Alfredson & Matt Tecu.
Ms. Magness took the time to sit and chat with us at the Blues Music Awards and here is her interview, a must read if you wish to know more about what went on in her putting all these pieces together for the release.
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
Where Blues Thrives
Photos: Courtesy Of Artist.