Legendary soul and gospel singer Mavis Staples stopped by WFUV Radio in the Bronx for an interview accompanied by a stunning set of live performances. Her new album, One True Vine, is set to be released on June 25th through Anti- and was produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. According to Pitchfork, every instrument recorded was played by Tweedy save for the drums which were played by his 16-year-old son, Spencer. One True Vine is the second collaborative effort between Tweedy and Staples following the 2010 Grammy Award winning You Are Not Alone. The Wilco singer-songwriter even penned a few tracks for the upcoming release.
On Tweedy having written the album's titular track - an unabashedly gospel number - Mavis said, "I don't hear him writing any songs like that for Wilco!"
Mavis kicked off her stripped down live set with an old Staples Singer track that appears on the album, "I Like The Things About Me That I Once Despised".
She stated, "I knew we had to get a Staples Singers song on this record." A Staples Singers favorite for many years, the song was primarily sung by Roebuck "Pops" Staples, Mavis' father. Mavis said, "I can't touch pops. I loved to hear my father sing."
Watch Mavis perform "I Like The Things About Me..." below, accompanied by her guitarist and bandleader Rick Holmstrom:
Next, Staples performed a beautiful new track entitled "Far Celestial Shores":
Staples discussed her 2010 Grammy nomination, stating that she tentatively shared her excited sentiments with her deceased father: "I said, "I kinda want this Grammy, Pops. Forgive me if I get excited""
Despite the fact that her 2010 collaboration with Tweedy was not only well-received by critics and listeners alike, but also received a Grammy win for Best Americana Album, Staples indicated that she seldom focuses on material awards.
"I've not been singing all my life for a Grammy. The Grammy...that's a material thing. The Grammy is an award. [...] Pops used to say, "You're singing for your just reward, and you'll get that one day." From that time on, I could care less about a Grammy. [...] I'm not getting any hopes up. I'm not thinking about a Grammy. I have my Grammy, that's cool. If I never win another Grammy, I've had that moment."
Mavis then performed the titular track from her 2010 album, "You Are Not Alone":
Regarding her artistic process and the songs she chooses to put on her albums, the singer stated:
"I have to sing something that I can live. Pops always told me, "Mavis make it plain. You want the people to know what you're talking about...and sing from your heart. What comes from your heart reaches the heart""
You can listen to the full interview on WFUV or the embedded link at the top of this post. Additionally, if you happen to be in the New York City area, be sure to take advantage of the incredible opportunity to see Mavis performing as a part of Celebrate Brooklyn tonight, June 14th, in Prospect Park at 7:30.
You can pre-order Mavis' upcoming album on iTunes and check out the tracklist below:
One True Vine:
01 Holy Ghost
02 Every Step
03 Can You Get to That
04 Jesus Wept
05 Far Celestial Shore
06 What Are They Doing in Heaven Today
07 Sow Good Seeds
08 I Like the Things About Me
09 Woke Up This Morning (With My Mind on Jesus)
10 One True Vine