Any year that you get a new Janiva Magness CD is guaranteed to be a good one, so tighten your wigs and crank up the stereo because on June 24th, 2014 the award-winning singer and songwriter will release her new album, titled Original, on her own indie Fathead Records label.
Original offers eleven songs that feature Magness' usual mix of blues, roots-rock, and soul music. Working again with producer Dave Darling, Magness lays her soul bare with a brutal slate of songs that present the artist at her most transparent. Inspired by the end of her 17-year marriage, and more deaths of friends and relatives than a person should have to endure in such a short timeframe, Magness co-wrote seven of the album's songs, backing up her words with some of the most powerful vocal performances of her career.
"I always want to push myself," Magness explains in a press release for Original, "but this album demanded a high level of vulnerability to tell the absolute truth in every song, holding nothing back. It was frightening, at times, to be so raw in public. Dave drove me and even tricked me when he needed to. This is also an album that couldn't be made with another record company, because we needed to be able to go wherever we wanted musically to tell its stories."
On top of her personal tragedies, Magness faced a seemingly insurmountable obstacle when a December 2012 surgery left her unable to speak or sing. She was forced to regain control of her remarkable instrument, a journey assisted by L.A. based vocal coach Nate Lamm for helping her sing again, with an even greater range and control than before. The injury came at an inopportune time, following the release of her Blues Music Award nominated Alligator Records release Stronger For It and just prior to her BMA win as "Contemporary Blues Female Vocalist of the Year."
"I've always wanted life to be simpler than it is," says Magness. "When I was a young girl, and then a young woman, I really yearned for that. Now I'm a full-grown woman and I understand that life is never black and white. Losing loved ones, losing attachments and relationships, and grieving over it all are things we have to live with. If we can get through that with our souls intact, we learn how to become stronger and to move on with hope and dignity toward whatever comes next."
Photo courtesy Fathead Records