CD Review: Janiva Magness – Love is an Army
BLUES CD REVIEW
Artist: Janiva Magness
Album: Love is an Army
Label: Blue Elan
Release Date: 2.23.2018
One sign of Magness’ power as a performer is her ability to hold her own next to a stellar collection of guest musicians. On “Hammer,” Charlie Musselwhite’s thick-toned harp adds mojo to a bluesy groove and lyrics about persisting in the face of adversity. Roots rock legend Delbert McClinton lends his weathered voice to the beautiful ballad “What Could I Do?” Magness and McClinton created an aching tale of lost love that’s sure to tug at listeners’ heartstrings. Poco co-founder Rusty Young adds pedal steel guitar and a touch of Nashville grit to “On and On.” The energetic country-rock arrangement perfectly suits Magness’ lyrics about love and devotion.
Love Is An Army’s heady brew of roots music styles is made all the more potent by a judicious dose of social commentary. On the defiantly optimistic “Love to a Gunfight,” Magness bares her soul on the vocals while a rich mix of organ and pedal steel guitar bring it home. On the simmering blues “Tell Me,” Magness sings, “I’m not gonna cry when I should be fighting,” while the chorus exhorts listeners to, “Stand up/stand up.” A winning combination of passion and top notch musicianship make Love Is An Army essential listening for roots music fans.