Janiva Magness,
Do I Move You
(NorthernBlues, 2006)

On the cover of this album, Janiva Magness describes herself as a hussie in the same mode as Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith and some other hard-living women. "We laugh hard and cry harder," she says. "We love loud, weep and moan, rage and wail till the sun rises, never give up and after that just try again."

That may not be an apt description of the real woman (though her bio does reveal some hard living) but it fits the one whose voice and music combine to move us as few blues singers of modern times can. Which may explain why she had three big nominations in 2007 -- album of the year, best contemporary blues artist and best contemporary blues album of the year.

Janiva has once again teamed up with Colin Linden to produce this album, and he contributes some fine guitar work and one song, "I Give Up," which are admirable additions to what is a stand-out selection of music. There are also three pieces by her husband, Jeff Turmes: "I Can't Stop Crying," "Don't Let Your Memories" and "Bad Blood."

If that's not enough to whet your appetite throw in Willie Dixon's "Workin' on Me Baby," go country-Southern with Delbert McClinton's "You Were Never Mine," the Nashville boogie "Stealin' Sugar" and the stellar title piece, Nina Simone's "Do I Move You."

Magness has a sultry voice that's always in perfect pitch. She's backed by a superb band featuring Linden, Rick Holmstrom and Turmes on guitar; Turmes and Gary Davenport, bass; Richard Bell, piano and Hammond B3; John Whynot, Wurlitzer and tambourine; Turmes, baritone and tenor sax, and Stephen Taylor Hodges, drums.

I don't think I'm alone in predicting the best is yet to come from this artist.

by John R. Lindermuth
21 April 2007

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