Mavis-Staples-M-Review-No28MAVIS STAPLES

One True Vine 


Like Bettye LaVette and the late Solomon Burke, gospel-soul singer Mavis Staples’ career has seen a resurgence in recent years thanks to a fruitful collaboration with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. But Staples never feels the need to compromise her roots or reverence to mine commercial appeal. Instead, she tows the line between unwavering faith and a tireless quest for redemption, and while the majority of these songs sound like religious standards, most were written by contemporary artists. Tweedy himself contributes three tracks, among them the slow and deliberate “Jesus Wept,” which creates one of the album’s most indelible impressions. Nick Lowe offers the spirited and spirit-filled “Far Celestial Shores,” and Alan Sparhawk of Low pens “Holy Ghost,” a reverential tune that sets the tone for all that follows. Still, the old-time revival sound of “Sow Good Seeds,” the cool groove of  “Can You Get to That” and the Staples Singers standard “I Like the Things About Me” fuel the intensity that makes Staples shine. –Lee Zimmerman


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