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Janiva Magness

An Evening with Janiva Magness
Love Wins Again

By T.E. Mattox

he last thing a former Lost Angelinian misses after almost 20 years gone is the congested freeways and the angst associated with navigating through the city limits. So when my friend, Jocelynn invited me to come back to town to see a show, I was less than enthusiastic. When she added it was a special performance by Janiva Magness and the release of her new chart-climbing CD, Love Wins Again, I was in the car and headed up the 405 before she received my 'Oh, hell yeah!' response.

cover for Janiva Magness' latest CD, 'Love Wins Again'

The event, staged at Doug Weston's Troubadour by Blue Élan Records, showcased not only the headlining Magness but two opening acts that turned a CD-release party into a full night of unforgettable music. When Chelsea Williams stepped to the mike the SRO crowd turned from the bar almost in unison to face the stage. Williams' voice resonates with impressive emotional clarity and her versatility and range became instantly apparent as she worked effortlessly through her latest project, DreamCatcher. The crowd showed love in response and Williams left the stage with a full house of brand new fans.

Chelsea Williams performing at Doug Weston's Troubadour
Chelsea Williams opening at the Troub. Photo: T.E. Mattox

Next up was a young Louisiana man named Rod Melancon. His small town perspective isn't unique but his passion and intensity is and that shines brightly in his performance as well as his just released EP, LA 14. An EP it must be noted that contains all original material. Much like his roots Melancon's music has those rich, lush undercurrents of real life in every town Americana. And yes, that includes his bent on the ill-advised combination of firearms and pharmaceuticals he so plainly details in, 'A Man Like Me Shouldn't Own A Gun.'

EP cover of Rod Melancon's 'LA 14'

Both artists, Williams and Melancon are immensely talented singer-songwriters and became the perfect table-setting for Janiva Magness.

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The room was vibrating as the Magness band began to plug in. With a beefed up rhythm section that included Boxing Ghandi's alumni Alfredo Ballesteros and Dave Darling, the twin guitars of Zach Zunis and Garret Deloian and a chorus of backing singers, Janiva Magness had come, as is her MO… to bust up the joint.

Janiva Magness and her band performing at Doug Weston's Troubadour

Without pretense and with little formality, smiling at her band mates, the crowd, expressing her desire that we all have a good time and that she had some new songs to share… and here they are. BAM! As subtle as a locomotive, Magness and her entire ensemble ripped right into the new CD, Love Wins Again. Soaring to new heights with numbers like 'When You Hold Me' and 'Say You Will' only to one-eighty, step back and glide through the fresh and folky 'Doorway' and 'Just Another Lesson.' All tracks incidentally, penned by producer/guitarist Dave Darling. 'Moth To a Flame' has a fresh yet familiar, almost comforting vibe. Which is understandable, since Janiva co-wrote it with Darling, the same collaboration that gave us earlier nuggets like 'Let Me Breathe,' 'I Won't Cry' and 'There It Is.'

Janiva Magness and her band
In the pocket. Photo: Yachiyo Mattox

Having attended numerous Magness shows, the only thing you know for sure is, the woman's voice will blow your hair straight back and her band will most assuredly perform something you weren't expecting. Such was the case for her take on John Fogerty's 'Long As I Can See The Light.' Fogerty's instantly recognizable classic found a whole new audience this night. Another thrill came with a bonus offering of Hank Snow's 'I Don't Hurt Anymore' that confirms once again there are no boundaries to Janiva's craft.

Probably the most fun of the evening came from the rollicking, Detroit brass-driven, soul stomp, 'Your House Is Burnin'. The joint was jumping along to this screaming homage to James Brown as Janiva yelled, 'Get Up…your house is burnin' down!' Too much fun.

Janiva Magness is on the road right now in support of Love Wins Again so check her website for dates and times close to you. Honestly, if you have the chance to see any of these musicians live, it's so worth your effort and you can't go wrong with any of these CD's. It's been almost a month now and they are all still in my player.

Related Articles:
Whitney Shay A Voice of Recognition; Young Blood… Old Souls: The Casey Hensley Band; Missy and Heine Andersen: Putting Rhythm Back in the Blues; The Tighten Ups: And the 'Shocking, Horrifying and Delightful' World of Laura Jane Willcock

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Let Tim know what you think about his traveling adventure.

I was there at the Shrine to see Bob come in riding on a baby elephant. He says in the interview it was either '68 or 69: it was both – it was New Year's Eve (See "The Bear," an article on Bob Hite),

Debbie Hollier, Nevada City, CA

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Who else played with Canned Heat and Deep Purple at the Shrine in '68?

Bill, LA

I think the Shrine show on New Years in '68, where Bob Hite rode out on the elephant, also featured Poco, Lee Michaels, Black Pearl, Love Army and Sweetwater. Don't know that Deep Purple was booked on that evening.

Bill, maybe you're thinking about the International Pop Fest in San Francisco a few months earlier that featured these fine folks... Procol Harum, Iron Butterfly, Jose Feliciano, Johnny Rivers, Eric Burdon And The Animals, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Grass Roots, The Chambers Brothers, Deep Purple, Fraternity of Man & Canned Heat or possibly the following year in Jan of 1970 when Deep Purple appeared with Canned Heat and Renaissance on a triple-bill in London at the Royal Albert Hall.

One final note: The current Johnny Otis piece didn't mention it, but it was Mr. Otis that took Canned Heat into the studio the very first time to record in 1966. Small world, ain't it?


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Thank u for posting it! Bob is still boogin' around!! (See "The Bear," an article on Bob Hite),

Stefano Di Leonardo, Fisciano (Salerno, Italy)

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Great Read! (See "The Bear," an article on Bob Hite) I will post it on Bob "THE BEAR" Hite Official Facebook Page,

Dave Tohill, Brandon, UK

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Hello Tim, thank you so much for letting a huge Canned Heat fan check out this
interview with the Bear. I really enjoyed it.

Best regards,

Rick Caldwell, Fairfield, Ohio

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I knew Bob Hite in the 60's. Canned Heat played at our high school prom 1966 Rexford High. The Family Dog, Chet Helms, Skip Taylor.

Max Kalik, Los Angeles, CA

Dear Tim,

I just discovered you from an email I received from Preston Smith disclosing his next event. I wanted to tap into his website Prestonsmithmusic but it would not link from your site for some reason. I have to say Preston really is a genius and I met him in Glendale at a jazz club about three years ago, after a fatal accident. By chance, I was invited to spend time hanging out with Preston and some friends after his gig. He is everything you say and I will never forget his amazing creativity and his positive influence in my life.

Janelle, Palm Springs, CA

Love the article! (on Lowell George) Lowell was my father.

Forrest George, Warren, Vermont

This Bob Hite interview is the most interesting thing I have read concerning Canned Heat. I have Fito's book, but I always was interested in learning more about Bob Hite. You did it here my friend...great interview!!!!!

Tony Musto - Pittston, PA

Hey Tim, Great article on Preston! I really enjoyed it and you did your homework. I'll probably catch PS this weekend.


Dave - Northridge, CA

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Hello, what a great article on Preston Smith! I actually met Preston one evening after an Acoustic set of my own at the Prestigeous Carlton Hotel here in Atascadero, Ca. We were loading up and he happened to be walking down the sidewalk and stop to say hello. I must say that he is a truly interesting and talented man that NEVER forgets to let me know when he is playing around the Central Coast where I live. It was so fun to read about who he truly is...(as if you don't know him the first time you meet him)! My adventures have only just begun as I recently returned from Nashville recording my self titled debut EP. I can only hope that my adventures down the road are as enlightening as Preston's and that I have the honor of a great writer such as yourself to share them with the world. Thank you for doing just that, sharing "Preston Smith" with the world.


Amy Estrada - Atascadero, CA

Hi Tim,

My name is Bert, I'm from Italy and I'm a blues harmonica player...I read your article and it reminded me of the two trips I made in the Delta, in 2008 and 2009. I love Frank's music and I think it's a shame people don't really know his work. It's important that people like you write about him. Thank you! In the Delta I was only a "stupid" tourist, but it was a great, unique experience I consider one of the most important in my life: driving on the highways, Listening to the blues everywhere, jamming in places like Red's and ground Zero in Clarksdale or the Blues Bar in Greenville... are priceless things, something I will keep in my heart for the rest of my life. I met a beautiful, lovely woman there too (named Hope), but I behaved like a stupid kid and I lost her... Alas! I will never forget that days and the chance I had to find happiness...Well, I also wrote something about Frank on a website, but it's in Italian... I give you the link of the first part (the second will be published in the next weeks) anyway if you know some Italian or somebody who can understand it... Even if I'm thinking of making a translation


Bert - Pavia, Italy

I wanna be Tim!

Brent, Seattle, WA

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Those pictures give you an idea of what the Rockin' Pneumonia actually looks like and it looks BAD! But the man can still play! Enjoyed the article - give us more TRAVELING BLUES BOY!

Steve Thomas - NA, INDIANA

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Good Stuff, Tim. Having been a Johnny Winter fan since the first time I heard Rock n Roll Hoochie Koo, it was great hearing his take on some his highlight moments that defined his blues career. His affiliation with Muddy Waters was particularly interesting. Kudos for bringing that out. Thanks to your dedication to covering the blues scene, this "one of a kind" music still lives for servicemen & women around the world. Keep it Up!

Brandon Williams, Moreno Valley, CA

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Impressive! What a legend and how cool that you got so much time with him, Tim.

Don, Louisville, KY

Tim - Great article, enjoyed Little Feat/Lowell George story, really brought me back in time. Did not know he was a fishin' man! Wonder what surfaces out of the abyss of your memory next?

Steve Thomas, New Albany, IN

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I really liked your travel back in time with Lowell and Little Feat. As a long time Feat fan (mostly the stuff with Lowell) it was cool to read. I learned several of their songs back in the day and they still stand up today when played live. Another singer I really liked from back then is TimBuckley. Thanks for the article.

Chet Hogoboom, Arroyo Grande, CA

Loved your last issue of TB, especially the Mayall piece. I want that guy's job!

Brent, Seattle, WA


This is a great write up. Has it been printed in any magazines? It's better than a lot of things I read in my guitar magazines, so props for that.

Caejar, Moreno Valley, CA


I can tell that you have this passion for jazz. I wonder if you yourself play any instrument. Or are you just a groupie like most of us?

I talked with a mid-aged flute jazz artist a few weeks ago and he lamented that despite his talents (and he is extremely talented) he says that the industry hasn't been kind to him. He said jobs are few and far between. He said the music industry is combating piracy and competition due to technology being readily available to private homes and that they are not as profitable as before. So they are replacing live talent for synthesized or digital instruments.

Do you see the same trend in your relationships with your music network?

Bob, Pasadena, CA

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