Mavis Staples Announces New Ben Harper-Produced Studio Album 'We Get By'
Living legend and vocal powerhouse Mavis Staples is proud to announce her 12th studio album We Get By, featuring eleven tracks written and produced by Ben Harper. Harper's conscious, expressive writing and thoughtful production captures Staples at this moment in time as she offers up love, hope and history during a politically divided era.
"These songs are delivering such a strong message," Staples said. She looks to the formidable and progressive opening track "Change" as an example of the strength in the words she is belting. "We truly need to make a change if we want this world to be better."
Of course, collaborating with Harper for an album's worth of new music is part of a larger trend in Staples' work. An inductee of both the Blues and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Staples has famously collaborated with Prince, Bob Dylan, The Band, Curtis Mayfield, Nick Cave, Neko Case, Arcade Fire, Hozier and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, just to name a few.
The album's cover is a powerful photograph titled "Outside Looking In" by American photographer, author, musician and director Gordon Parks. It 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.
Parks was the first African American staff photographer and writer for Life Magazine, co-founder of Essence magazine and a tireless advocate for as well as a documentarian of the Civil Rights Movement. After he died in 2006, The Gordon Parks Foundation was established to permanently preserve his work and in 2017, Mavis was named a recipient of the Gordon Parks Foundation Award, which is given to individuals who have enriched our lives in ways that reflect Parks' ideas and goals by using creative means to inspire the next generation.
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. 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."
3/22 - Jackson, MS - Thalia Mara Hall
3/29 - Albuquerque, NM - Isleta Resort & Casino
4/13 - Decatur, GA - Amplify Decatur Music Festival
4/14 - Baton Rouge, LA - Baton Rouge Blues Festival
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
5/15 - Nashville, TN - Mavis & Friends: Celebrating 80 Years of Mavis Staples
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
7/6 - 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
7/31 - 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
9/6 - Philadelphia, PA - Mann Center for the Performing Arts w/ Brandi Carlile
9/21 - North Adams, MA - FreshGrass Festival
10/5 - Florence, AL - Shoals Fest