Stephen Colbert has publicly admired Mavis Staples, the soul and gospel great, for years. He first welcomed her to his Colbert Report back in 2010, and she took part in the all-star musical finale of his first Late Night show. Last week, Staples released a new album, the M. Ward-produced Livin’ On A High Note. And last night, Colbert had her back on his show, not just as a musical guest but also as an interview subject. Sitting down with Colbert, Staples talked about opening for Martin Luther King and about convincing church people that she wasn’t making the devil’s music when she switched from gospel to soul. And she also sang “Take Us Back,” her new album’s opening track, which New Orleans blues-rocker Benjamin Booker wrote for her. Watch the interview and the performance below.
Livin’ On A High Note is out now on Anti-.