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 Prekindle.com 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.
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