The unstoppable Mavis Staples | Carolina Theatre | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
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The unstoppable Mavis Staples 

When: Mon., Nov. 16, 8 p.m. 2015
Price: $34-$159



CAROLINA THEATRE, DURHAM—If Mavis Staples had simply wrapped up her career and retired after The Staple Singers' long, rich run came to an end in the mid-'90s, she would still be rightly exalted as one of the most moving vocalists America has ever produced. And her family band's blend of soul, gospel and funk made for one of the most innovative, absorbing musical amalgams of the 20th century.

But Mavis kept on going after The Staple Singers were no more. She had been putting out solo albums since the late '60s, anyway, on a number of influential labels. (How many other artists can you name who have had records out on both Stax and Paisley Park?) But like a number of aging American legends (Solomon Burke, Betty LaVette, Merle Haggard), Mavis earned new attention and a new audience when she started recording for Anti-, the sister label of the punk imprint Epitaph.

Ry Cooder produced Staples' first Anti- album, 2004's Have a Little Faith. The singer tackled mostly traditional folk and blues material on that one. During the last few years, though, she's cut two albums with Jeff Tweedy in the production seat, and on the second of those, 2013's One True Vine, she took on tunes by the likes of Nick Lowe and Funkadelic.

Whatever material Staples selects, she transforms it into something deep, earthy and soulful, something that's undeniably her own. Live, you might get a few Staple Singers classics, but you're more likely to encounter material from the folk, funk and alt-rock realms. Really, it won't matter too much: Once Mavis puts her personal stamp on someone else's song, it's as though you've never heard it before she sang it. With Joan Osborne. 8 p.m., $34–$159, 309 W. Morgan St., Durham, 919-560-3030, —Jim Allen

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