The old adage is that folks who excel at playing the blues are the ones who have lived the blues. Coming from Los Angeles (by way of Detroit), Janiva Magness is a blues/R&B diva that has more than paid her dues over three decades of recording and performing. And, perhaps as a result, Magness' most recent effort, What Love Will Do, is a wonderful collection of slow-burning blues (the steamy "One Heartache Too Late") and upbeat soul ("Fool Me Again" could be a great lost cut from Al Green).
What has always made Magness special, though, is her authenticity. While someone like Joss Stone may be influenced by the blues, Janiva Magness is inspired by it. Unlike a lot of performers who overdress and clutter up their take on the genre, Magness likes to keep her backing sharp and tasteful. Her four-piece band sets the tempo, but never allows the support to overshadow Magness' powerful set of pipes. And when this 51-year-old belts out songs such as Ike Turner's "Get It, Get It " or her own "Bury Me at the Crossroads," it quickly becomes apparent what a startlingly unique blues presence Magness really is. She doesn't come around often enough, so this Saturday is a prime opportunity to hear the real deal at the perfect venue.
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