Mavis Staples’ performances—from her earliest days singing with her family at Holy Trinity Baptist Church in 1948, to founding the Staple Singers in 1953, to filling stadium shows for decades—run deep with struggle, hope and compassion. Her latest release, If All I Was Was Black, is her third collaboration with songwriter, producer and Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy. The album’s 10 songs about America today make it clear that the present is filled with ghosts of the past. Staples explores where love lies.
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