Published Jan 07, 2016Much to our good fortune, R&B great Mavis Staples has announced she'll be following up her 2015 EP Your Good Fortune with a new album called Livin' on a High Note. Produced by M. Ward and featuring songs penned by top-shelf artists like Nick Cave and Neko Case, it touches down February 19 via Anti-.
Staples' latest contains 12 new recordings, with M. Ward having worked the boards for the veteran singer's latest sessions. Her last two full-lengths, 2010's You Are Not Alone and 2013's One True Vine, had been produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy.
According to a statement from Staples, her intention for Livin' on a High Note was to sing a clutch of brand new tunes that could "lift people up."
"I've been singing my freedom songs and I wanted to stretch out and sing some songs that were new," she explained. "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."
In addition to producing, Ward had a hand in delivering material for Staples. He wrote the record's "Don't Cry," teamed up with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon to deliver "Dedicated," and has shared writing credit for "MLK Song" with late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
The rest of the record finds Staples singing songs crafted for her by artists including Nick Cave, Neko Case, Ben Harper, Aloe Blacc, tUnE-yArds, Son Little and more. You'll find the full breakdown below, where you can check out a stream of first single "High Note," which was written by Valerie June.
In related news, a documentary on Staples titled Mavis! premieres February 29 on HBO.
Livin' on a High Note:
1. Take Us Back (Benjamin Booker)
2. Love and Trust (Ben Harper)
3. If It's a Light (The Head & the Heart)
4. Action (tUnE-yArds)
5. High Note (Valerie June)
6. Don't Cry (M. Ward)
7. Tomorrow (Aloe Blacc/John Batiste)
8. Dedicated (Justin Vernon/M.Ward)
9. 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)