What Love Will Do
A tour de force of visceral blues, soul and R&B defined by Janiva’s husky, commanding vocals. Whether belting out infectious roots and blues, mining deep soul or unleashing a volcanic rocker, Janiva’s heartfelt conviction and undeniable vocal presence take listeners for a passionate, groove-laden ride. "A superb, powerhouse R&B singer who delivers blues and soul with show-stopping authority" -- LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS
2009 B.B. King Blues Entertainer Of The Year Award--Blues Music Awards (as presented by Mr. B.B. King himself)
JANIVA MAGNESS TALKS ABOUT "WHAT LOVE WILL DO"
Produced by Dave Darling and Janiva Magness
Recorded at Stagg Street Studios, Van Nuys CA, The Shithouse, Van Nuys, CA and The Doghouse, Calabasas, CA
Engineered by John Whynot and Dave Darling
Assistant engineer: Chris Doremus
Mixed by Dave Darling at The Doghouse
Mastered by Tom Weir, Studio City Sound, Studio City, CA
Photos by Jeff Dunas
Packaging design by Kevin Niemiec
Hair and makeup by Allison Gladieux
Alligator logo by Michael Trossman
Guitars: Zack Zunis, Michael "Junior" Watson, Jeff Turmes and Dave Darling
Keyboards: Red Young, Arlan Schierbaum, Benny Yee and John Whynot
Bass: Jeff Turmes and Gary Davenport
Drums: Stephen Hodges
Tenor and Baritone Sax: Jeff Turmes
Trumpet and Trombone: Lee Thornburg
Percussion: Brie Darling, Gunner Sixx and Dave Darling
Background Vocals: Donny Gerrard, Mark Philpart, Janiva Magness, Julie Christensen, Brie Darling and Dave Darling
Jive Choir: Justin Guarini
Claps: Dave Darling, Jeff Turmes, Stephen Hodges and Janiva Magness
1. That's What Love Will Make You Do 3:22
Guitar: Zack and DaveWurlitzer: Benny Bass: Gary Drums: Stephen Horns: Jeff Percussion: Brie
(James & Wilson, Jesi-Lu Music adm. by Lew-Bob Songs, BMI)
2. I Want A Love 3:46
Guitars: Jeff and DaveBass:Jeff Drums: Stephen Background Vocals: Dave Claps: Dave, Jeff and Stephen
3. I'm Glad You're Mine 3:26
(Green, Al Green Music/Irving Music, BMI)
Guitar: Dave • Hammond B-3: Arlan • Bass: Jeff • Drums: Stephen • Horns: Jeff and Lee • Background Vocals: Dave • Percussion: Brie
4. Bitter Pill 4:08(Lennox, Universal Music-MGB Songs, ASCAP)
Guitar: Dave • Wurlitzer: Red • Hammond B-3: Arlan • Bass: Jeff • Drums: Stephen • Baritone Sax: Jeff • Background Vocals: Donny and Mark
5. Fool Me Again 3:43
(Nicholson & Alexander, Sony/ATV Cross Keys Publishing/Gary Nicholson Music/Disney and 2008 Vistaville Music obo Itself and Hopeless Rose Music, ASCAP)
Guitars: Zack and Jeff • Hammond B-3: Arlan • Bass: Gary • Drums: Stephen6. Get It, Get It 4:17
(Turner, Single Shot Music, BMI)
Guitars: Junior, Jeff and Dave • Bass: Gary • Drums: Stephen • Horns: Jeff and Lee • Background Vocals: Dave • Claps: Jeff, Dave and Stephen7. One Heartache Too Late 4:36
(Randle & Mills, Malaco Music/Peermusic II Ltd., BMI/Giving Music/Chatawa Music, ASCAP)
Guitar: Zack • Piano: John • Hammond B-3: Arlan • Bass: Gary • Drums: Stephen • Horns: Jeff and Lee • Background Vocals: Julie and Janiva
8. You Sound Pretty Good 2:27
(Turmes, Tight Shoes Music, BMI)
Guitar: Dave • Banjo: Jeff • Bass: Jeff • Drums: Stephen • Horns: Jeff • Percussion: Stephen • Claps: Jeff, Dave and Stephen
9. I Don't Want You On My Mind 4:06(Withers, Interior Music, BMI)
Guitar: Jeff • Wurlitzer: Red • Clavinet: Arlan • Bass: Jeff • Drums: Stephen • Percussion: Gunner10. Don't Do It 2:56
(Stevenson, Stone Agate Music, BMI)
Guitar: DaveBass: Jeff Drums: Stephen Percussion: Brie Background Vocals: Dave
11. I Won't Be Around 3:58(Bridgeman & Bridgeman, Robert Duffey Music/Third Story Music, BMI)
Guitar: DaveWurlitzer: Arlan Background Vocals: Donny and Mark
12. Freedom Is Just Beyond The Door 3:26
(Jackson & Cage, Screen Gems-EMI Music, Inc., BMI)
Guitar: Dave • Hammond B-3: Red • Wurlitzer: Arlan • Bass: Jeff • Drums: Stephen • Horns: Jeff and Lee • Background Vocals: Julie, Brie and Janiva13. Sometimes You Got To Gamble 3:59
(Turmes, Tight Shoes Music, BMI)Piano: Jeff • Bass: Gary
THANK YOUS ARE WAAAY DUE TO:
Dave Darling (you have no idea...), Jeff Turmes, John Whynot, Gary Davenport, Benny Yee, Zach Zunis, Stephen Hodges, Red Young, Arlan Schierbaum, Brie Darling, Julie Christensen, Donny Gerrard, Mark Philpart, Gunner Sixx, Justin Guarini, Sweet Alice Culhane, Priscilla Hernandez, Jay Sieleman, Joe Whitmer, The Blues Foundation, ALL the local Blues Societies, Gary Nicholson, Earl Thomas, Jeff Dunas, Lucian Cappalarro, Allison Gladieux, Tom Weir and Steven Valenzuela at S.C.S. Mastering, Charles Driebe and the Blind Ambition Management crew, Piedmont Talent, Michael McClune, Casey Family Programs, Alligator Records, Taj Mahal, Georgina Moore, Bill Bodine, Frank Wolf, Steven Roberts, Naomi Siegal, Beverly Macy, Jacqueline Krain, John Morthland, Fig, Katie P. & Lulu Bell, Connie Crash & Kansas City Local 69, Bob Cortese, Rodger Carter, Chris Doremus, Stagg Street Studios, The Shithouse Studio, The Doghouse Studio, Bill & Billie Magness and of course The Garbageman.
Support The Blues Foundation and join today at www.blues.org
What Love Will Do ...
This record is a testament to the power of love.
Listen - on any given day in the United States there are 513,000+ children in the Foster Care system because their own families are in crisis. Countless kids in this country experience abuse, mental illness, homelessness and drug addiction. Like a slap in the face, the facts are staggering. It hurts just to hear about it. The problem is enormous.
Love is bigger; it must be.
I am one of those faces, yet today I live the life unimagined. In large part because of
my love of music and what it's given back to me, and because someone held hope for
me, when I had none.
A most amazing journey.
This record is dedicated to those kids, to the power of hope and love. What love
can and will do if a person is exposed to it just long enough.
"Everybody needs a little good luck..." Today, I am evidence of that very thing.
To find out more about this idea and most importantly, how you can change
the lifetime of a child at risk, please go to www.fostercaremonth.org.
Janiva Magness doesn't waste any time these days, least of all her own. It's not just that she never oversings and her band never overplays. Her music carries an urgency, a life-or-death sense of conviction that grows out of her rough and tumble adolescence, and combines with her rich voice and vocal chops to make her one of the most mesmerizing singers out there. She won't let you not believe her. That urgency is all over the blues-inflected Memphis soul music of this, her debut Alligator album.
In the last decade or so, Janiva's star has shined ever brighter; in both 2006 and 2007, she was voted Best Contemporary Female Artist in the Blues Music Awards. Her albums have grown more assured, her live shows more incendiary. But it took a while.
Born in Detroit and raised all over the Midwest, she was the smart, shy and insecure next-to-the-youngest of five kids. She was thirteen when her mother committed suicide, and sixteen when her father did; she'd spent two of the years in between living on the street, and in twelve foster homes and three psychiatric institutions. After turning sixteen, she had a baby girl, whom she gave up for adoption (the two reconnected years later). Around then, Janiva realized she had to turn her life around; with the help of her working-class foster mother, who already had five kids of her own, Magness became an emancipated minor, rented her own apartment, and took various jobs to support herself before working up enough nerve to take a shot at the music world.
"I feel like that was several lifetimes ago," she now reflects. "It's absolutely part of who I am and my view of the world, but it doesn't define me." Today, she's a spokesperson for Casey Family Programs promoting National Foster Care Month. "It makes that piece of my life come full circle and make sense," she says. "Now I can help somebody else who's in the same situation I was in; part of what was my tragedy becomes an asset. You can't buy that."
Magness tells her story with the same sort of resolved passion that informs her music, balancing raunchy humor and no-nonsense gravity, humility and swagger. Always a music fan-a soul-searing Otis Rush concert she attended at age fourteen was the clincher-she lacked the confidence to act on it until she was nineteen, when she began auditioning successfully for Minneapolis-St. Paul bands. An engineering stint at a local recording studio led to jobs singing backup on the Twin Cities R&B and funk circuit. Increasingly drawn towards blues-in which she found healing, redemption, integrity and something akin to spirituality as she put her life back together-she moved to Phoenix and started her singing career. There, she fell in with former Sam Cooke music director Bob Tate, who taught her the music-biz ropes, including how to run a band. Eventually, she formed Janiva Magness and the Mojomatics, which ruled the local scene. But after six years, she felt she'd gone as far as she could in Phoenix. She moved to L.A., took a day job unloading trucks at a grocery store, and began hustling gigs. By 1991, she'd released More Than Live, her debut (cassette-only) album. Six more followed prior to What Love Will Do, one of them co-billing her with now-husband Jeff Turmes, a superb songwriter and multi-instrumentalist in his own right.
She's a contemporary blues artist in the best possible sense. With her sure, mature grasp of blues roots, she sings a straight-up blues as movingly as anyone; but she's more likely to subtly weave in a full spectrum of other rootsy influences. Janiva can sing it as rough or as caressing as the song requires, as raspy or as smooth. While she's a powerhouse belter when she wants, she can also be nuanced, exploring every emotional twist and turn of a complex lyric. She's looking for one thing above all in a song, she says, and that's "the truth," plain and simple. "It's gotta have a story that moves me; otherwise, it's pointless," Janiva says. "I can go through the gymnastics, but if it's not the truth I'm not gonna mean it and that'll show.
Always her own co-producer, this time she chose longtime friend Dave Darling (Brian Setzer/Stray Cats, Tom Waits, Meredith Brooks, Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks) to help her refashion the snap of Stax with the snazz of Hi. For material she's gone far enough afield to cull from the songbooks of, among others, Annie Lennox, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Candi Staton, Little Milton, Bill Withers, Tina Turner, Dorothy Moore and her L.A. friend Earl Thomas; two others were written for her by Turmes. But Janiva makes each song her own. Time and again, she leads with her heart, speaks her mind, and lets the chips fall where they may.
"The audience deserves the truth, and I know what my job is," Janiva Magness declares. "My job is to make a connection from one person to another." That makes What Love Will Do the latest in an impressive string of jobs well done.
John Morthland is a writer at large for Texas Monthly.