Of all my brother-in-law Jeff Tweedy's projects, what could possibly be more exciting than his collaboration with gospel legend Mavis Staples? He produced her new album, which will be released in September, wrote the title tune, and sings on several of the tracks. 71-year-old Mavis all but adopted my two nephews during the recording (which took place at Wilco's Chicago loft) and I'm hoping her honorary grandmother status extends to my children, Charlie and Leah. Here is a just-released video featuring Mavis and Jeff:
"I'm so happy to be connected to the Wilco band, period," Mavis said in a recent Guardian interview. "Most of the time when the session is over, you just take a deep breath and you're grateful that everything went right. But this one, I hated to see it wrap up. I would have loved to do one more song...I told Jeff, 'It's cartwheel time for me. I can't do it, but I'll get one of my nieces and nephews to do a cartwheel for me.'"
Here's a clip of Mavis with her family, the Staple Singers, singing one of their biggest hits at the 1973 Grammy Awards. Hot damn, that woman can sing. Welcome to the family, Mavis!
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