Blues singer Magness appears at Palms

By February 21, 2011

Janiva Magness

Janiva Magness

Award-winning blues and soul vocalist Janiva Magness will appear Saturday at The Palms Playhouse in Winters, 13 Main St. She’ll perform songs from her latest Alligator Records release, “The Devil Is An Angel Too.”

Saturday’s show starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $20, available online at http://www.palmsplayhouse.com or by calling (530) 795-1825.

A charismatic artist known for her electrifying live shows, Magness recently was nominated for four 2011 Blues Music Awards: B.B. King Entertainer of the Year; Album of the Year (“The Devil Is An Angel Too”); Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year and Contemporary Blues Album of the Year (“The Devil Is An Angel Too”).

She won the coveted 2009 Blues Music Awards for B.B. King Entertainer of the Year (she is only the second woman to ever win this award, Koko Taylor being the first) and for Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year, an honor she also received in 2006 and 2007.

USA Today declared, “Magness is a blues star.” In 2008, Magness performed in Iraq and Kuwait as a co-headliner of Bluzapalooza, the first-ever blues concert tour to perform for American troops in an active war zone.

“The Devil Is An Angel Too” is a hard-hitting collection of material that explores the depths of good and evil, with Magness’ glorious, soul-baring vocals burning their way through 12 powerful songs. These include original material written especially for her as well as songs from Julie Miller, Graham Parker, Nick Lowe, Joe Tex, Gladys Knight, Nina Simone, Ann Peebles and James Carr.

Although Magness is now a bona fide blues star, her rise to the top was far from easy. Born in Detroit, she was inspired by her father’s blues and country record collection, and by the vibrant music of the city’s classic Motown sound. By her teenage years, though, her life was in chaos. She lost both parents to suicide by the age of 16 and lived on the streets, bouncing from one foster home to another. At 17, she became a teenage mother who gave up her baby daughter for adoption.

One night in Minneapolis, an underage Magness sneaked into a club to see blues great Otis Rush, and it was there that she found her calling. She began going to as many blues shows as possible, soaking up the sounds of her favorite artists, including Johnny Copeland and Albert Collins. She immersed herself in records by James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and all the other R&B greats.

She moved to Los Angeles in 1986 and slowly began finding work there as a singer. She married musician and songwriter Jeff Turmes, with whom she recorded the album “It Takes One To Know One.” After three more releases, Magness signed with Northern Blues in 2004, releasing two albums and increasing her national touring schedule. Blues Revue said, “Magness is a bold and potent artist with a powerful, soulful voice… impossible to forget.”

In addition to her musical accomplishments, Magness reaches out to help others. She is a national spokeswoman for Casey Family Programs and an ambassador for Foster Care Alumni of America, promoting National Foster Care Month.

“Our fate doesn’t have to be our destiny,” she says. “I’m living proof of that. And I’m so very grateful.”

Enterprise staff

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