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Mavis Staples Goes Over The Mountain

Mavis Staples will celebrate her 80th birthday on July 10, and she's excited about it.  Staples announced three special "Mavis & Friends" shows coming up this year in New York, Nashville and Los Angeles.  "I just wanted the world to know that I made it to 80!" she explained.  "I am letting my fans know that I'm over the hill but now I'm going over the mountain."

The R&B, soul and gospel singer also has a new record out.  "We'll Get By" features eleven new songs written and produced by Ben Harper, with Harper joining Staples for a vocal duet on the album's title track.  Harper doesn't play guitar on the record, leaving that to Rick Holmstrom.  As a gesture toward musical democracy, Staples credits Holmstrom and the other three players and singers, plus the album's audio engineer as "co-producers" along with herself.

With a lifetime of social justice and civil rights work, it's what you would expect from Mavis Staples.  "We Get By" is a heartfelt and realistically postive album.  "These songs are delivering such a strong message," Staples said via her record label.  "We truly need to make a change if we want this world to be better."

Mark Simmet is a Senior Producer and Studio One Host