Janiva Magness and Kenny Neal will headline the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society’s 27th Annual Carolina Blues Festival, which will be held on May 18 at Greensboro’s Festival Park.
The annual festival has become the signature event for the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society, a non-profit founded in 1985 to cultivate and preserve the tradition of blues music.
Magness recently made headlines by earning five 2013 Blues Music Awards, including in the B.B. King Entertainer of The Year Award and Album Of The Year categories.
May 18 at Greensboro’s Festival Park
She has earned every one of these blues music nominations after half a lifetime chasing what she calls “demons” from a childhood that ended much earlier than most. She grew up in Detroit but after both her parents committed suicide within a few years of each other, she ended up in and out of 12 foster homes. She eventually became pregnant, deciding to give her daughter up for adoption.
She was, she says now, “unlovable” and was often homeless. Social workers could not figure out how to help the situation. At age 17, after being tossed around to a dozen foster homes, she signed papers to become legally emancipated as an adult. At 18, she turned to blues singing after being stunned by an Otis Rush performance. She rose above her past to rise to the top of the blues genre while also becoming an important advocate for foster children and foster care.
Neal is a 2011 Louisiana Music Hall of Fame Inductee. The acclaimed multi-instrumentalist is widely renowned as a modern swamp-blues master. His new release, “Hooked On Your Love,” follows the triumph of his multi-award-winning 2008 comeback album, “Let Life Flow,” which garnered three prestigious Album Of The Year awards, two Song of The Year awards for the title track and a couple of Artist of the Year honors for Neal.
For more information about the Festival, including artists additions, go to piedmontblues.org.