Denton’s 35 Conferette Brings Out the Soul with Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples takes us to 35 (photo by Chris Strong)
Now that’s more like it!  Last year’s Conferette (known then as NX35 before they were “kindly” asked to find a new name), was a good representation of the burgeoning Indie-Americana music running rampant ’round these parts — but I, for one, am pleased to see them taking on a more diverse approach this go around, thus opening up the event for a fresh crowd of Soul/Gospel fans (read: me + you).  Since the organization is known for guerilla advocacy of local artists, I certainly hope to see Dallas Soul/Gospel cats stand up and take part in the 35 Conferette.  Interested artists can submit via Sonicbids. More details from 35 Guru, Lyndsey Knecht Milne, after the jump.  -SC
DENTON, Texas (November 17, 2010) —  35 Conferette is proud to announce Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer Mavis Staples has been confirmed to perform at the festival, March 10-13, 2011. 

The soul/gospel icon who led The Staple Singers (“Respect Yourself,” “I’ll Take You There”) is decorated with the highest honors afforded to celebrated industry lifers:  she won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005, earned a place among Rolling Stone’s Greatest Singers of All Time and was named one of  the Greatest Women of Rock and Roll by VH1. There exists a “Mavis Staples Day” in Illinois acknowledging the singer’s commitment to civil rights and impressive career, spanning more than 50 years.

Presale tickets via are available at a discounted price of $70 for a very limited time. Comedian/musician Reggie Watts, neo-psych band Royal Bangs, art-rock duo Japanther, and indie-folk artist Damien Jurado are among those set to appear at the walkable 4-day music conference programmed in the heart of Denton, Texas’ central business district.

Staples’ latest record You Are Not Alone, released in September on Anti-Records, was produced by Jeff Tweedy and recorded in Wilco’s famed studio, The Loft. Tweedy penned two of the tracks for the singer. The Chicagoans became “totally family,” Staples says in materials for the record. And the sound reflects a deep yet joyful striving characteristic of both artists, a suggestion of what “soul” means across genres.

“… After decades in the music industry, she still sounds invigorated and ecstatic, unburdened by cynicism or disappointment. With Tweedy, she has created a record that is mindful of her own past, yet these songs sound fresh, original, and often inspiring.” [Pitchfork]


Last month, the pair performed the title track of You Are Not Alone at Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear in Washington, D.C., with Staples closing the show solo.

“2010’s event in Denton saw the North American debut of Australia’s The Middle East [Brooklyn Vegan], a keynote address by seminal punk icon Steve Albini, and a free outdoor show featuring The Flaming Lips with Denton’s Midlake supporting. The weekend included 11 venues for regular programming and about 225 bands from Denton [Best Music Scene, Paste, 2008] to Dublin on the lineup, deemed a “scorcher” by the Austin American-Statesman. An estimated 20,000 people attended over the weekend. In 2009, NX35 drew about 2200 people.

35 Conferette is committed to improving the economics and quality of life in Denton. We reach for these goals via programmatical rocksploitation, rousing community union, and providing meaningful travel coupon codes. Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and check soon for news and updates.”

-35 Guru