If you’re fundamentally or primarily a fan of country music, or Americana, or bluegrass, as many reading these words will be, you might well not be familiar with the name “Janiva Magness.” (For one thing, her first name’s pronounced JAN-i-vah, more like “Canada” than “Geneva.”) This, separate genre worlds being what they are, despite the fact that she’s been a leading light on a different scene within the broad American roots music spectrum for decades now—the blues scene. She’s been singing the blues and soul and fronting bands for over 30 years now, since she was a teenager, toured the world, and won the top awards the field hands out—Contemporary Blues Female Artist Blues Music Award (formerly the W.C. Handy Awards) multiple times, and in 2009, the “B.B. King Entertainer of the Year” top prize—as rare an honor for women in blues as in country. (I was on hand in Memphis when that one was presented to her, by B.B. King and Bonnie Raitt.)Read More
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