Anyone who has ever heard Janiva Magness sing can immediately divine that this is a strong, resilient, commanding woman in masterful control of her voice - and her destiny - if not always her heart.
In the space between the notes you can hear a performer who has survived a difficult life by anyone’s measure to become one of the top blues vocalists of her generation, only the second woman, after blues legend Koko Taylor, to win the Blues Music Awards’ coveted B.B. King Entertainer of the Year award.
A seven-time Blues Music Award winner, Magness has more than earned her right to sing the blues. Her life story comes straight out of a blues song. As she recounts in her soon-to-be-published memoir, she was born in Detroit, and among the fondest memories of her childhood were the sounds of her father’s blues and country record collection.
Childhood was short lived for Magness, however; as an adolescent she lost both parents to suicide. She spent the next several years bouncing around the foster care system, a traumatic experience that inspired her adult advocacy involvement with a variety of foster care programs. As a young woman, her life was seemingly spiraling out of control. She was saved one night in Minneapolis when, underage, she snuck into a show by bluesman Otis Rush. She started down the path of a music career, working as a recording engineer before being coaxed out in front of a microphone as a backup singer and finally forming her own group in Arizona.
“There’s definitely been an evolution, an arc over the course of time of the kinds of songs that I’ve elected to do and the kinds of songs I now write,” she says. “I wanted to bring that arc full circle. I wanted to make a record of what and where I come from. It was important to me emotionally and spiritually.”
Magness still has a lot more songs to sing and write, and she is finding new audiences for her music, including her recent first trip to India where she sang for 5,000 fans despite never been there before.
“There’s a lot more to this story,” she says. “And if you’re interested in the book, I hope to go to publishing this year.”
The Silver Kings revisit the exciting period of the late 1940’s and early 1950’s when modern recording technology, electricity and blues collided to create music that was very special. This was a period where pure artistic expression ruled the day. It was time before the commercial, youth market came to dominate the record business and hold sway over the musicians themselves. The music that had migrated from the South to the North added a new urban, amplified sound. This brand of blues music that featured restraint, dynamic phrasing, subtlety, nuance and depth is a sound that is rarely heard today.
Similar to the way the music was being performed and recorded in its peak; The Silver Kings attempt to capture the essence of that original electric sound.
With the use of authentic, vintage equipment from this period, they take an understated, minimalistic approach that opens the music up. This style allows for a wider range of human emotion and expression. This gives listeners the opportunity to come to the music instead of forcing the music onto them. Their passion for the original form of the music clearly shines through in every note they play.
"It could be said that The Silver Kings are the living embodiment of the adage that ‘something old can indeed be something new.’ I say, ‘The Silver Kings are like the music they play - and that is something that is truly timeless.’ " - David Mac BLUES JUNCTION Productions
Doors open at 6:45 pm, music approx. 8 pm
This is an all ages show
Advanced seating reservations highly recommended.
Note: parties of 3 or less may be seated with other parties of 3 or less based on availability.
Text 714-809-6146 for more info