Unlike the multitude of blues sets that seem geared toward young guitar fanatics, singer Magness carves out a niche by singing the blues with maturity and sophistication, aiming for an audience disenf

Unlike the multitude of blues sets that seem geared toward young guitar fanatics, singer Magness carves out a niche by singing the blues with maturity and sophistication, aiming for an audience disenfranchised by pop radio, but not too old for rock'n'roll. Magness did not compose any of this disc's tracks, but she creates an identity for herself by assembling simmering, mid-tempo songs by such writers as Marcia Ball, Ray Charles, and James Brown. She also adds a few tunes from the popular blues lexicon, such as the oft-covered "It's Your Voodoo Working," and sings with an expressive but never overbearing vocal style that draws the listener in without resorting to shouting or over-emoting. Plus, Fabulous Thunderbirds guitarist Kid Ramos guests on several tracks, so if you want guitar firepower, Magness has got that, too. Contact: bluesleaf@aol.com.—SG