Two chances this coming week to catch powerhouse Janiva Magness: Wednesday night, March 21, 6-9 p.m., at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar and Thursday, March 22, at The 21st Saloon, 5:30-8:30 p.m. She is a singer with relentless heart whose serious vocal abilities are matched by deeply intuitive interpretive skills. Magness is the only female to win the Blues Music Award’s B.B. King Entertainer of the Year Award besides the late Koko Taylor.
Magness’ new CD Stronger for It (Alligator) drops this week and turns Magness’ gifted vocals loose on material that ranges from her own co-writes to songs by artists Buddy and Julie Miller, Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, Ike Turner and even Ray Wylie Hubbard.
Magness dedicates the disc “to those of us still standing. Battered, cut and bruised...and as the smoke clears...we find we are somehow...still holding on...because that is what we do. Holding on for what may be...just around the corner...for those who are left to still love and hold us near.”
And that statement reflects the heart of the blues: resilience and celebration.
This Thursday, March 15, it's the rock, roots and blues of Kansas City’s Nace Brothers at The 21st, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Other highlights at the Zoo Bar include two fledgling blues-based bands Thursday, March 15, after 9 p.m. Omaha’s Square 1 shares the bill with Lincoln’s Cold In Hand, a group of 13 to 16 year-old Lincoln musicians who have just finished their first CD. Lincoln musician and Zoo Bar bartender/booker Josh Hoyer reports the groups “are very talented...and writing original music.” See square1music.com and coldinhand.com.
Brad Cordle Band brings funky soul and R&B to the Zoo Friday, March 16, 5-7 p.m. After 9 p.m. catch “classic country” with Buck & Faver and Americana with The Betties.
Sons of 76 play soul, R&B and blues at Gator O’Malley’s Thursday, March 15, 9 p.m. Matt Cox and his new band are at Barley Street Tavern March 15, sharing the bill with Edward Spencer and Great American Desert.
The Sioux CIty Live Music Club hosts the great Buckwheat Zydeco for a special show Friday, March 16, in the Crystal Ballroom, 707 Fourth Street, Sioux City. Tickets are $28 and the Groove Diggers open the 9 p.m. show. See facebook.com/pages/The-Sioux-City-Live-Music-Club/319466074815
Jazz great Herbie Hancock is in concert at the Holland Performing Arts Center Friday, March 16. The Holland also has a couple of interesting shows coming up next weekend at the 1200 Club. The David Wax Museum mixes Latin, American roots and indie-rock Friday, March 23. New York City’s Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds performs their “modern spin” on “classic soul and dirty blues” on Saturday, March 24. See omahaperformingarts.org.