Concert Sponsored by Steve’s Quality Painting!
With her new Change in the Weather: Janiva Magness Sings John Fogerty, the Grammy-nominated artist is at the nexus of re-invention and tradition. The album, which will be released by Blue Élan Records on September 13, reframes 12 songs curated from the Creedence Clearwater Revival leader’s catalog in Magness’ soaring, soul-centered style. It also places her within the lineage of classic singers who have made albums devoted to exploring the work of a single writer within the Great American Songbook—a process that has yielded such historic recordings as Sarah Vaughan Sings George Gershwin and Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook.
That comparison may sound like hyperbole until you hear how creatively Magness, who again collaborated with Grammy-nominated producer Dave Darling to make her fifteenth album, explores these songs, from the familiar Creedence hits “Lodi” and “Bad Moon Rising” to numbers from Fogerty’s solo career, like the title cut and “Don’t You Wish It Was True,” which appears here as a duet with triple-Grammy-winner and American music icon Taj Mahal. And, of course, Fogerty’s work is timeless. His songs have been part of the soundtrack of the lives of multiple generations, cutting a broad swath through rock, blues, and country, and trailblazing the eclectic, roots-based Americana genre.
Magness first opened the door to Change in the Weather: Janiva Magness Sings John Fogerty when she decided to include a passionate version of Fogerty’s gospel-fueled “Long As I Can See the Light” on 2016’s Grammy-nominated Love Wins Again. That album continued her own emergence as a songwriter, which began with 2014’s Original and came into full bloom with 2018’s Love Is an Army. The latter was a brilliantly crafted bridge between the past and present, blending echoes of classic soul and Americana music with enduring themes of love and the contemporary sounds of protest. It followed a 2017 EP, Blue Again, on which Magness, who has won seven Blues Music Awards including Entertainer of the Year, and received 28 nominations, returned to her roots with a collection of songs from that genre’s back pages.
“Kirk Pasich, the founder of Blue Élan, suggested that we record ‘Long As I Can See the Light,’” Magness explains, “and I loved adapting and singing that song, so it was a natural evolution to Change in the Weather. John Fogerty is a brilliant writer. His melodies are big and rich and provide a real highway into the heart of his songs, which is wonderful for me as a singer, and their backbone is his storytelling, which is spare and direct, and absolutely American in its imagery and themes. And those themes endure.”
“A lot of the lyrics of his early material were protest-oriented, and that’s important to me—to be speaking out about the current state of affairs in our country and the world. So, songs he wrote in the late ’60s and early ’70s, like ‘Bad Moon Rising’ and ‘Wrote a Song for Everyone,’ which talk about welfare lines and turbulent times ahead, are still relevant.”
Nonetheless, Change in the Weather: Janiva Magness Sings John Fogerty perfectly balances challenging realities with joyful buoyancy. “Don’t You Wish It Was True” exudes that balance. The song, which originally appeared on Fogerty’s 2007 solo album Revival, gets righteous bounce from a happy-go-lucky shuffle beat, loping and sliding guitar, and the bright vocal interplay of Mahal and Magness. Mahal, who began his influential career in 1964, has been Grammy-nominated 11 times, and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association in 2014, sings like a gravel-throated Santa from the Mississippi Delta, adding cheerful asides to the tune’s utopian vision. And if anything, one of the album’s themes is its musical diversity. “Change in the Weather,” for example, gets a tent-revival treatment, with Magness’ spirited testifying, hand-clapped rhythmic accents, and devilish bursts of dirty guitar.
Season Sponsored by Special Properties
This event is supported in part by a grant from the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Doors and bar open at 6:45 p.m.