“I’m the messenger,” Mavis Staples says on the eve of her 80th birthday. “That’s my job—it has been for my whole life—and I can’t just give up while the struggle’s still alive. We’ve got more work to do, so I’m going to keep on getting stronger and keep on delivering my message every single day.”
Today Staples has shared the funky new song “Anytime” that looks fearlessly to the future – listen to it HERE.
Mavis’s message—a clarion call to love, to faith, to justice, to brotherhood, to joy—lies at the heart of We Get By, Staples’ spectacular twelfth studio album and first full-length collaboration with multi-GRAMMY® Award-winner Ben Harper. 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 album’s cover also helps to convey Mavis’s powerful message; a commanding photograph by American photographer, author, musician and director Gordon Parks titled “Outside Looking In”, the image is part of a series of photographs published in Life as a photo essay titled “The Restraints: Open and Hidden,” which helped expose Americans to the effects of racial segregation.
“I come from a family of Mavis fans,” explained Harper. “So her music has been woven into the fabric of my life from the very start. When I got the call for this gig, it felt like my entire career, everything I’d ever written, had been pre-production for this.”
The release of We Get By will also align with three celebratory shows that Mavis will spend among her musical friends. Commemorating her 80th birthday this year and presented by Newport Folk, the shows will take place at New York City’s Apollo Theater, Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and Los Angeles’s Theatre at Ace Hotel.
Called ‘Mavis & Friends: Celebrating 80 Years of Mavis Staples’, the trio of shows will feature Mavis and new special guests each night including David Byrne, Jason Isbell, Jon Batiste, John Prine, Elle King, Benjamin Booker and many more. Proceeds from the Mavis & Friends shows will go directly towards extending the Newport Folk Festivals Foundation’s support of music education programs in New York, Nashville and Los Angeles.
“I just wanted the world to know that I made it to 80!” the 2016 Kennedy Center honoree frankly says of the reasons for the shows. “I am letting my fans know that I’m over the hill but now I’m going over the mountain.”
4/18 – Byron Bay, Australia – Byron Bay Bluesfest
4/20 – Byron Bay, Australia – Byron Bay Bluesfest
4/21 – Byron Bay, Australia – Byron Bay Bluesfest
4/23 – Auckland, New Zealand – The Civic w/ Tami Neilson
5/2 – New Orleans, LA – New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
5/9 – New York, NY – Mavis & Friends: Celebrating 80 Years of Mavis Staples @ Apollo Theater SOLD OUT
5/15 – Nashville, TN – Mavis & Friends: Celebrating 80 Years of Mavis Staples @ Ryman Auditorium
5/22 – Los Angeles, CA – Mavis & Friends: Celebrating 80 Years of Mavis Staples @ The Theatre at Ace Hotel
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 Cantine de 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