A clarion call to love, faith, justice and brotherhood lies at the heart of We Get By, Mavis Staples’ spectacular twelfth studio album and first full-length collaboration with multi-GRAMMY Award-winner Ben Harper.
Today NPR Music has shared the album in advance of its May 24th release date; listen to it via NPR First Listen HERE.
Backed by her longtime touring band, Staples breathes extraordinary life into Harper’s compositions on the record, delivering roof-raising performances with both a youthful vigor and a commanding maturity. The arrangements here are spare but weighty, matched by Harper’s suitably lean and thoughtful production, and Staples seizes the opportunity to showcase her remarkable and continued evolution as an artist, one still growing and exploring more than half a century into her storied career.
Today Staples has also released the album’s title track, a duet with Harper; they will perform “We Get By” together for the first time on Jimmy Kimmel Live! this Monday, May 20. Watch footage from their recording session of the song and listen to it HERE.
Staples will also host her third of three 80th birthday shows at Los Angeles’s Theatre at the Ace Hotel on Wednesday, May 22. Called ‘Mavis & Friends: Celebrating 80 Years of Mavis Staples’, the trio of shows – with the first two taking place earlier this month at New York City’s Apollo Theater and Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium - will feature Mavis and new special guests each night including Grace Potter, Jason Isbell, Lucius, Phoebe Bridgers, Elle King, Benjamin Booker and more. Proceeds from the Mavis & Friends shows will go directly towards extending the Newport Folk Festivals Foundation’s support of music education programs.
With Harper at the helm, Mavis and her band recorded We Get By live at Henson Studio in Hollywood, CA, capturing the kind of powerhouse energy and deep pocket grooves that have come to define Staples’ legendary concerts. While Harper had a distinct vision for the sound of the record, he purposely kept his demos to skeletal sketches, leaving space for Mavis and the band to interpret and give flight to his songs in the inimitable way that only they could.
“When I first started reading the lyrics Ben wrote for me, I said to myself, ‘My God, he’s saying everything that needs to be said right now,’” Staples remembers. “But the songs were also true to my journey and the stories I’ve been singing all my life. There’s a spirituality and an honesty to Ben’s writing that took me back to church.”
5/22 – Los Angeles, CA – Mavis & Friends: Celebrating 80 Years of Mavis Staples
5/31 – Ogden, UT – Ogden Music Festival
6/9 – Nelsonville, OH – Nelsonville Music Festival 2019
6/23 – Dublin, Ireland – Olympia Theatre
6/25 – Norrmalm, Sweden – Nalen
6/26 – 6/30 – Worthy Farm, UK – Glastonbury Festival 2019
6/27 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Theater Carré
6/28 – Antwerpen, Belgium – Open-Air Theatre
7/2 – Bath, UK – The Forum
7/4 – London, UK – Roundhouse
7/5 – Paris, France – La Cigale
7/6 – Lyon, France – Theatres Romaines De Fourviere
7/16 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks w/ Norah Jones
7/17 – Aspen, CO – Belly Up Aspen
7/19 – Chicago, IL – Pitchfork Music Festival
7/20 – Lincoln, NE - ZooFest
7/31 – Cape May, NJ – Cape May Convention Hall
8/1 – Vienna, VA – Filene Center at Wolf Trap w/ Lyle Lovett
8/3 – Lagrange, GA – Sweetland Amphitheatre at Boyd Park
8/10 – Lexington, KY – Railbird Festival
8/11 – San Francisco, CA – Outside Lands Festival
9/6 – Philadelphia, PA – Mann Center for the Performing Arts w/ Brandi Carlile
9/14 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden w/ Brandi Carlile
9/21 – North Adams, MA – FreshGrass Festival
9/22 – East Aurora, NY – Borderland Festival
10/5 – Florence, AL – Shoals Fest