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JANIVA MAGNESS/ “Love Is An Army” (Blue Élan BER1072)


Seven times “Blues Award” winner Janiva has some fine guests on this set – not that this Los Angeles based singer actually needs them, as anyone who has heard her music before can testify, and this is her fourteenth album – but it does mean that Delbert McClinton duets (instantly recognisably) with her on the country ballad ‘What Could I Do’, and Delbert’s mix of blues, country, soul, R&B, and Americana is a good reference point for the percolating music on this album. Janiva opens the set with the beautiful lilting soul of ‘Back To Blue’ before Charlie Musselwhite’s wailing harmonica announces the tough, driving blues of ‘Hammer’; Rusty Young’s wonderful pedal steel playing is all over ‘On And On’ before Janiva moves back to the blues with the fine, moody sound of ‘Tell Me’, which also features some tough electric guitar playing by producer Dave Darling.
The title track is an acoustic-based ballad, with Texas singer/ songwriter Bryan Stephens helping out on vocals, and Courtney Harman of bluegrass band Della Mae supplies banjo and guitar to the traditional-sounding ‘Down Below’. ‘What’s That Say About You’ is a classic and classy mid-tempo soul beater, and Cedric Burnside guests on ‘Home’, with archaic gospel styled vocals and a raw Mississippi hill country-inflected sound. Doug Livingston’s pedal steel features heavily in the passionate ballad ‘Love To A Gunfight’ and the quieter ‘When It Rains’, before this excellent album closes with the gospel piano and vocal of ‘Some Kind Of Love’. Throughout these dozen songs, Janiva’s vocals are exemplary, the material is richly melodic, and the lyrics meaningful.
Norman Darwen
(www.janivamagness.com)

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September 2018

1
The Devil Makes Three
70 pts.
Chains Are Broken
New West
FC,JB,RK,TJ,LK
2
Jimmy LaFave
65 pts.
Peace Town
Music Road Records
PKO
3
Malcolm Holcombe
48 pts.
Come Hell Or High Water
Gypsy Eyes Music
FB,JBO
4
Cody Canada & the Departed
47 pts.
3
Blue Rose Records
CVL,DHO
5
Jeffrey Foucault
43 pts.
Blood Brothers
Blueblade Records
MB,SZ
6
The War And Treaty
42 pts.
Healing Tide
Thirty Tigers
FCE,AL,MG
7
Martha Fields
40 pts.
Dancing Shadows
Independent
SP,DH,RST,RW
8
The Weight Band
35 pts.
World Gone Mad
Must Have Music
DD,CRS,BM
9
David Olney
32 pts.
This Side Or The Other
Black Hen Music
LM
 
The Black Sorrows
32 pts.
Citizen John
Blue Rose Records
 
11
Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis
31 pts.
Wild Wild Wild
Bloodshot Records
GS
12
Hadley McCall Thackston
28 pts.
Hadley McCall Thackston
Wolfe Island Records
 
 
Nathan Bell
28 pts.
Er Gwaetha Pawb a Phopeth
Angry Stick
PK
14
Curse Of Lono
26 pts.
As I Fell
Submarine Cat Records
MM,JF
15
Ryan Martin
25 pts.
Gimme Some Light
High Moon
 
 
Stephen Simmons
25 pts.
Gall
Locke Creek Records
TK,HDB
17
Jason McNiff
23 pts.
Joy And Independence
At The Helm Records
 
 
Jim Lauderdale
23 pts.
Time Flies
Yep Roc
 
 
Kevin Gordon
23 pts.
Tilt and Shine
Crowville Media
MP
20
Eliza Gilkyson
21 pts.
Secularia
Red House Records
KG,JJC
21
Boz Scaggs
20 pts.
Out Of the Blues
Concord Records
BH,JSM
 
Lucero
20 pts.
Among The Ghosts
Thirty Tigers
JJ
 
Melissa Carper & Rebecca Patek
20 pts.
Brand New Old-Time Songs
Independent
MW
24
The Jayhawks
17 pts.
Back Roads and Abandoned Motels
Legacy
 
25
Lori McKenna
16 pts.
Tree
Cn Records

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