The legendary Mavis Staples performed last night at the 55th Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. The revered singer appeared on stage for a moving tribute to the late singer/drummer Levon Helm of The Band. Along with Elton John, Zac Brown, Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes, Mumford & Sons and T Bone Burnett who served as musical director, Staples belted out a moving rendition of The Band’s beloved song “The Weight.” The song has been an essential part of Staple’s own live set since she sang it with Helm and The Band for their farewell show captured in the 1976 film The Last Waltz.
At the end of the song, Staple’s rousing vocals earned her some impromptu applause from the musicians on stage and a reverent kiss on the hand from none other than Elton John. Soon after a number of prominent sources including Questlove, Wanda Sykes, magazine The Fader, journalists Nelson George and Dream Hampton and others tweeted enthusiastically about Staple’s Grammy night performance.
A Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Staples is currently in the studio with Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) working on her upcoming 2013 release. The album will be the highly follow up to her critically lauded album You Are Not Alone which was also produced by Tweedy and won a Grammy Award in the Best Americana Album vocal or Instrumental category. The record was described by Time Magazine as "Gorgeous" and by Spin as "Inspired." Rolling Stone listed Staples as one of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.