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Mavis Staples Shares "Little Bit" via Billboard
Thursday, October 12th, 2017

Mavis Staples Shares "Little Bit" via Billboard

Mavis Staples has unveiled her latest single “Little Bit” via Billboard.com.

The song is a cautionary anthem of all the ways in which those regarded as suspicious have to weigh their actions just to survive day to day: "A little bit too high, a little bit too low, a little bit out of line, and my baby won't make it home." Mavis leads listeners through call-and-response vocals in a soundscape that recalls Sly and the Family Stone's mix of joy and social criticism unfolding over a funk-edged rhythm section. Listen here http://spoti.fi/2yNehpA

Mavis has joined forces again with songwriter-producer (and Wilco frontman) Jeff Tweedy for her new album entitled If All I Was Was Black, out on November 17th.Their first partnership in 2010, You Are Not Alone, won a Grammy Award for Best Americana album. Their second effort together, One True Vine, was a Grammy nominee. But If All I Was Was Black marks the first time Tweedy has composed an entire album of original songs for Mavis' legendary voice and a nation she's uniquely poised to address.

In the wake of the current race-baiting and rhetoric of exclusion appearing not just on the streets, but issuing from statehouses and even the White House, Mavis and Tweedy found themselves completely in sync and wanting to say something about the fissures dividing the country. "We're not loving one another the way we should," Mavis confided, as if sharing the secret to happiness, or something better. "Some people are saying they want to make the world great again, but we never lost our greatness. We just strayed into division.”

Explaining why he decided to tackle the state of the union, Tweedy said, "I've always thought of art as a political statement in and of itself—that it was enough to be on the side of creation and not destruction. But there is something that feels complicit at this moment in time about not facing what is happening in this country head on."

The lyrics are occasionally shot through with anger. "I have a mind to bury them whole, when they go low," Mavis sings on "We Go High." "There's evil in the world, and there's evil in me" opens the first verse of "Try Harder." "Oh, they lie, and they show no shame" adds a harsh undercurrent to "Who Told You That," an anthem against accepting the status quo. Unsettling musical elements wind their way through the record, too, from the abrasive guitar distortion of "Try Harder" to a descending bass line that signals danger on "Little Bit.”

Despite all this, the mood ring on Mavis' 2017 outing is set to love, which runs through and over the fury and despair. The songs move less like a hammer and more like the tide, with Mavis countering the anger with an eye toward the work that is required to bring change. She is singing the world as it is, but also a way forward. Mavis is sure that the answer is to lift each other up. She's not embracing the anxious hesitation of respectability politics but the possibilities of love

Mavis will join Bob Dylan for a series of North American live dates kicking off October 17th in Salt Lake City, UT and ending with a five night run in NYC at the Beacon Theater.

Pre-orders for If All I Was Was Black are available now at http://mavisstaples.com

Live Dates W/ Bob Dylan

10/17 Eccles Theater. Salt Lake City, UT

10/18 Eccles Theater. Salt Lake City, UT

10/21 1st Bank Center. Denver, CO

10/23 Century Link Center. Omaha, NE

10/24 Stephens Auditorium. Ames, IA

10/25 Xcel Energy Center. St Paul, MN

10/27 Wintrust Arena. Chicago, IL

10/28 Van Andel Arena. Grand Rapids, MI

10/29 IU Auditorium. Bloomington, IN

11/1 Fox Theater. Detroit, MI

11/3 EJ Thomas Hall. Akron, OH

11/5 Palace Theater. Columbus, OH

11/6 Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts. Pittsburgh, PA

11/7 Colbert show

11/8 Nassau Coliseum. Uniondale, NY

11/10 Richmond Coliseum. Richmond, VA

11/11 Tower Theatre. Philadelphia, PA

11/12 Tower Theatre. Philadelphia, PA

11/14 The Anthem. Washington, DC

11/16 Agannis Arena. Boston, MA

11/17 Palace Theater. Albany, NY

11/18 Shea's Performing Arts Center. Buffalo, NY

11/20 Beacon Theater. NYC, NY

11/21 Beacon Theater. NYC, NY

11/22 Beacon Theater. NYC, NY

11/24 Beacon Theater. NYC, NY

11/25 Beacon Theater. NYC, NY

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