Mavis Staples One True Vine

Mavis StaplesOne True Vine
Mavis Staples has made some of the best music of her career on her last few albums, which is saying a great deal considering the importance of her catalogue in the history of gospel and soul. Credit must surely be given to her collaborators, and having Jeff Tweedy back to produce One True Vine after their previous work on You Are Not Alone shows the natural chemistry they share. Indeed, the comfort level is obvious — for all of its darker shadings, nothing on One True Vine sounds forced. After the sonic excesses of turn-of-the-century Wilco, Tweedy has become a master of subtlety in the studio and the blending of instruments and voices is seamless. Above it all is Staples' unassailable conviction, even when tackling unlikely but inspired choices such as Funkadelic's "Can You Get To That" and Nick Lowe's "Far Celestial Shores." As on last year's collaboration with Bill Fay, Tweedy proves more than adept at putting himself in another artist's shoes, with "Jesus Wept" and the title track, two songs that sound as though Staples has been singing them for years. Hopefully a third instalment will come sooner rather than later. (Anti)