All-time-great singer Mavis Staples is releasing a new album next month, Livin’ On A High Note, a follow-up to last year’s Your Good Fortune EP. It was produced by M. Ward (as opposed to her last two records, which were produced by Jeff Tweedy) and features songs written specifically for her by Nick Cave, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, tUnE-yArDs, Neko Case, Benjamin Booker, and more. Today, she’s shared the first single from the release, “High Note,” which was written by Valerie June. Listen to the new song via Pitchfork and check out the collaborative tracklist below.
Here’s what Staples had to say about the release:
I’ve been singing my freedom songs and I wanted to stretch out and sing some songs that were new. I told the writers I was looking for some joyful songs. I want to leave something to lift people up; I’m so busy making people cry, not from sadness, but I’m always telling a part of history that brought us down and I’m trying to bring us back up. These songwriters gave me a challenge. They gave me that feeling of, ‘Hey, I can hang! I can still do this!’ There’s a variety, and it makes me feel refreshed and brand new. Just like Benjamin Booker wrote on the opening track, ‘I got friends and I got love around me, I got people, the people who love me.’ I’m living on a high note, I’m above the clouds. I’m just so grateful. I must be the happiest old girl in the world. Yes, indeed.
01 “Take Us Back (Benjamin Booker)
02 “Love and Trust” (Ben Harper)
03 “If It’s a Light” (The Head & the Heart)
04 “Action” (tUnE-yArds)
05 “High Note” (Valerie June)
06 “Don’t Cry” (M. Ward)
07 “Tomorrow” (Aloe Blacc/John Batiste)
08 “Dedicated” (Justin Vernon/M.Ward)
09 “History Now” (Neko Case)
10 “One Love” (Son Little)
11 “Jesus Lay Down Beside Me” (Nick Cave)
12 “MLK Song” (M. Ward / Martin Luther King)
Livin’ On A High Note is out 2/19 via Anti-.