You Are Not AloneAlbum | Mavis Staples By Jim Allen
Gospel-soul queen’s second album for hip indie.
Like so many of her old-school R&B-belting peers, former Staple Singers linchpin/longtime solo artist Mavis Staples was consistently plugging away before she gained a new imprimatur of cool from a hip indie label and high-profile young(er) collaborators. And don’t forget, back in the ‘80s, long before Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy was producing and writing for her on Anti Records, Staples made an album of Prince-penned tunes on the Purple One’s own Paisley Park label – all of which is simply to say, don’t call it a comeback. Rather, You Are Not Alone – the gospel-soul queen’s second album for Anti – represents the solidification of a path she’s been on for much of her life. Backed by a small, scrappy, Tweedy-led band, Staples storms through old Staple Singers tunes, traditional spirituals, and compositions from a disparate batch of songsmiths including Tweedy, Randy Newman, and Allen Toussaint. Tweedy’s empathetic production keeps things simple, gritty, and vibrant, employing a sort of pan-roots aesthetic whose blend of blues, rock, gospel, and soul matches the mix of tunes – not to mention the leading lady’s long, varied background – to perfection.
|You Are Not Alone (live and acoustic)|