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."