Mavis Staples’ twelfth studio album and first full-length collaboration with multi-GRAMMY Award-winner Ben Harper, We Get By, is out this Friday, May 24.
“When I first started reading the lyrics Ben wrote for me, I said to myself, ‘My God, he’s saying everything that needs to be said right now,’” Staples remembers. “But the songs were also true to my journey and the stories I’ve been singing all my life. There’s a spirituality and an honesty to Ben’s writing that took me back to church.”
Backed by her longtime touring band, Mavis Staples breathes extraordinary life into Harper’s compositions on the record, delivering roof-raising vocals with both a youthful vigor and a commanding maturity. The arrangements here are spare but weighty, matched by Harper’s suitably lean and thoughtful production, and Staples seizes the opportunity to showcase her remarkable and continued evolution as an artist - more than half a century in the business.
Listen to the album’s title track, a duet with Harper.
With Harper at the helm, Mavis and her band recorded We Get By at Henson Studio in Hollywood, CA, capturing the kind of powerhouse energy and deep pocket grooves that have come to define Staples’ legendary concerts - many may have seen her at Byron Bay Bluesfest. While Harper - another Bluesfest regular - had a distinct vision for the sound of the record, he purposely kept his demos to skeletal sketches, leaving space for Mavis and the band to interpret and give flight to his songs in the inimitable way that only they could.
Listen to Mavis Staples on Spotify
Listen to Mavis Staples on Apple Music