FAME Review: Janiva Magness - Original
Janiva Magness - Original


Janiva Magness

Fathead Records - FH1005

Available from Janiva Magness's online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

This disc marks a number of big changes in Janiva Magness' career; she co-wrote seven of the eleven songs, an album not on Alligator, and an expansion of her repertoire, however, she kept the producer, Dave Darling, of her last several discs. She still has bare naked storytelling rooted in the soul, blues, and roots genres; and it is bloody good, arguably her best yet. The songs are stark and yet vivid, and her voice sounds strong and raw in all the right places. This is a woman, if you have followed her, who has overcome very long odds to tell her story in the most honest way possible.

This is perhaps her most personal disc. The songs, all the songs are sung as if she had a personal stake in them. Listen to Who Am I and Standing, two songs she co-wrote with Dave Darling; they tell a pretty complete story. This is the story of a woman who has absorbed some of the hardest punches life can throw and she stands up and takes what was thrown at her and uses it to make herself a stronger, better, more compassionate person, so the rest of us don't have to suffer quite as much. As far as bands go this one has some of the hardest punches I have heard on her discs, there is tough love and she knows it and sings to it.

As good as this disc is when you go to see her you will be amazed at how much of herself this woman puts into her music. She becomes as fully fleshed a person before your eyes as a friend who you value and treasure, someone who you can talk about anything with, a best friend to walk down the road with.

Track List:

  • Let Me Breathe
  • Twice As Strong
  • When You Were My King
  • I Need A Man
  • Everything is Alright
  • With Love (featuring Dan Navarro)
  • Mountain
  • Who Am I
  • Badass
  • The Hard Way
  • Standing

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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