by B.J. Huchtemann Sizzling West Coast vocalist Janiva Magness takes Lincoln’s Zoo Bar stage for the early show next Wednesday, Oct. 27, 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Magness is only the second woman to receive the Blues Foundation’s prestigious B.B. King Entertainer of the Year award. The first was the late Koko Taylor. Magness is also a three-time winner of the Blues Music Award for Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year. Her beautiful, soulful vocals are distinctive and heartfelt. Her energetic stage show underlines a message to love and “celebrate yourself, no matter what.” The Zoo gig is Magness’ only Nebraska stop on this tour in support of her new release The Devil Is An Angel Too (Alligator). Label advance press calls the disc “a hard-hitting collection of material that explores the depths of good and evil, with Magness’ glorious, soul-baring vocals burning their way through twelve powerful songs.” The Chicago Sun-Times wrote, “Her songs run the gamut of emotions from sorrow to joy. A master of the lowdown blues who is equally at ease surrounded by funk or soul sounds, Magness invigorates every song with a brutal honesty.” Magness has risen to the top of the American blues scene despite a rocky start. She is a true survivor who lost both parents to suicide while she was a teen. At 17 she was an unwed mother who gave her daughter up for adoption. She found her musical calling when she snuck into a club in Minneapolis and heard Otis Rush. She counts among her inspirations Johnny Copeland, Albert Collins, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Etta James and other R&B greats. Magness is serving her fourth consecutive year as a National Spokesperson for Casey Family Programs and she is an Ambassador for Foster Care Alumni of America, promoting National Foster Care Month. “Our fate doesn’t have to be our destiny,” Magness says, in her press release. “I’m living proof of that. And I’m so very grateful.” Scorching Guitar Star Michael Burks Arkansas guitarist Michael Burks brings his blazing guitar and soulful performance skills to The Lift Thursday, Oct. 21, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Burks plays The Lift after a Wednesday, Oct. 20, show at Lincoln’s Zoo, 6-9 p.m. Billboard wrote, “Burks is a powerhouse blues guitar slinger … he blasts through licks like Clapton used to play just because he can. He is a great guitarist.” Burks is a multiple Blues Music Award nominee. His debut disc for Alligator, Make it Rain, was named one of the Top 200 greatest guitar recordings by Guitar One magazine. His most recent disc is Iron Man (Alligator). The Chicago Sun-Times recently wrote Burks is “poised on the brink of major stardom.” Honky-Tonk Horse Opera The Lift changes things up with honky-tonk Thursday, Oct. 28, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Since country is basically blues with a drawl, this shouldn’t keep fans from checking out this up and coming Austin roots band. Lincoln listeners can catch Horse Opera at the Zoo Bar Sunday, Oct. 24, 9 p.m. Austin Chronicle says Horse Opera’s music “belongs more in [a] neon honky-tonk than under a coyote moon … all wrapped around [lead singer] Jimmy Deveney’s workingman delivery, the guy looking for fun and dance on a Saturday night.” Bottomline Louisiana Style Josh Garrett & The Bottomline makes its Lincoln debut at the Zoo Bar Wednesday, Nov. 3, 6-9 p.m. The band returns to The Lift where it’s becoming a popular favorite Thursday, Nov. 4, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Garrett is a triple-threat artist with rich vocals and searing guitar skills that complement great originals songs and some creative covers. Garrett is a native of Tab Benoit’s hometown of Houma, La. Fronting a hot, high-energy band with horns that can bring the funk and the fun, Garrett & the Bottomline throw in tantalizing riffs on Zydeco and funk. Halloween at The Lift Kris Lager Band is scheduled to celebrate Halloween at The New Lift Lounge Sunday, Oct. 31, at 9 p.m. Also playing is KC band The Nace Brothers at 5:30 p.m. Coda I seldom venture outside of the music scene in this column, but I want to acknowledge the tragic passing of Bellwether Boutique founder Jessica Latham who took her life earlier this month. This is doubly tragic as she leaves behind a 4-year-old daughter, Avery. Fellow fashion scene member Buf Reynolds and other friends are hosting a benefit to set up a fund for Avery at Nomad Sunday, Oct. 24, 7-10 p.m. If you would like to help please look up their Facebook page: Fundraiser Show to Benefit Avery Latham. There will be photographic prints, fashion videos and other items for sale and a silent auction as well as a fashion show remembering “Bellwether Jessica.” My thoughts and prayers are with Avery and the other loved ones Jessica leaves behind.