Janiva Magness Digs Through the Weeds

“I love the way this sounds, and I love the statement.”


L.A.-based, Detroit-born blues queen Janiva Magness released the autobiographical album Hard to Kill last summer, a couple of years after she put an actual autobiography, a book called Weeds Like Us. Both saw her digging up some painful memories, and hopefully, both proved therapeutic.

Back in 2018, shortly after she had put out the Love is an Army album, she told us, “I never want to make the same record twice. I look over my shoulder at what I’ve done, and I see that there’s been a continuum. When I’m in the moment of making records, I just feel like I’m doing what’s in front of me. I’m going where I’m being led. But as I look over my shoulder, historically, I can see that there’s an absolute continuum.”

“I’m not saying I’ve fallen in love with myself after all these years, because that’s certainly not the case,” she continued. “What I’m saying is, I love the way this sounds, and I love the statement. I love the songs, and the performances by the ensemble. This one feels, sonically, like a lovely warm bath to me. Even though half the record is protest material.”

Of the new album, Magness said in a press release that, “I like true stories. My dad said something to me a long time ago; the meaning of it has changed over time, as things like that do, if we wake up. He said, ‘The truth will set you free.’”

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