Born into a gospel family, Mavis Staples has been onstage for most of her 75 years, and she seems as comfortable under a spotlight as in her living room. Decades ago, Mavis’ father, “Pops” Staples, wrote many of the songs Mavis and her sister Yvonne sing today, but their uplifting music never gets stale. It doesn’t hurt that Mavis has two of the hottest guitarists around, lead Rick Holstrom and guitarist/bassist Jeff Turmes, who ably performed two instrumental numbers and soloed on most of the dozen or so songs Staples performed.
Staples’ setlist drew from diverse inspirations: Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” about the Sunset Strip riots in the late ’60s; Roebuck “Pops” Staples’ “Why Am I Treated So Bad,” which Cannonball Adderley famously recorded (and which Mavis said was Dr. Martin Luther King’s favorite song); and the Staples’ 1971 funky hit “I Know A Place.” Down to earth, with Heaven above, Mavis still forges ahead.
– Suzanne Cadgène