In her six decade-spanning career, singer Mavis Staples doesn’t have to prove anything. Her list of collaborators is long, and it’s hard to believe that a 70-year-old soul legend like herself still feels the urge to push herself musically and creatively.
Her new album You Are Not Alone will be released by Anti- on September 14th, and it features fellow Chicagoan Jeff Tweedy of Wilco in a role as not only a producer but also as a songwriter. “He was just so up on what I wanted to do,” Staples told Pitchfork. “The session was so different. It was so refreshing for me to be singing these different tempos, and the way Jeff writes a song, you have to praise him!”
The reportedly album features Tweedy compositions alongside gospel traditionals, with Staples somewhat unfamiliar with the former until Tweedy came into the studios. “My sister called and said, ‘Mavis, turn on channel 20. This is Wilco.’ They were doing ‘Austin City Limits’. Man, I tell you, I almost jumped out of my skin. They were so dynamic and just so unbelievable.”
Well, Mavis Staples sounds excited, so undoubtedly Jeff Tweedy is excited. Really, who isn’t excited by this seemingly odd pairing? Snap.