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The pure joy of listening

Do I Move You?
Do I Move You?
By Janiva Magness

Northern Blues: 2006

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This review first appeared in Turbula in July 2006.

Janiva Magness sings a raw, soulful music somewhere between the deep Texas rhythm and blues of Angela Strehli and the roots rock of San Diego's Eve Selis. Her voice a touch frayed at the edges (with just a hint of Janis Joplin to that fraying), Magness has an everywoman approach to her music that gives it a definite barroom charm. Like Strehli, Magness doesn't have the strongest voice or widest range – compensating with a sense of vulnerability that creates intimacy between singer and listener. A pause here, a slight break in her voice there, and she's communicated more than any 10 conservatory vocal students will ever be able to.

On her new album, "Do I Move You?," Magness takes in blues, rock 'n' roll and soul, usually in some combination of the three. Backed by a crack band featuring longtime Mighty Flyer Rick "L.A." Holmstrom on guitar on about half the tracks, Magness shows a nice ability to handle both uptempo rockers and slowed-down ballads. Mostly she uses that voice of hers to create a sense of warmth and welcoming that makes listening pure joy.