Posts Tagged ‘concert’

A Joyful Celebration of Mavis Staples

July 17, 2017 Leave a comment


To celebrate Mavis Staples’ 75 birthday, a who’s who of musicians gathered to sing and honor the legendary artist. The result is I’ll Take You There: an All-Star Concert Celebration, now available on cd and dvd.

Staples, who is now 77, has made a massive impact on gospel, soul, rock and roots music. The album reflects her multi-faceted abilities, as well as her inimitable, indomitable spirit. As American Songwriter reports:

“The show, recorded at Chicago’s Auditorium Theater Nov. 19, 2014…came on the heels of two successful Jeff Tweedy produced albums. Not surprisingly, Tweedy appears to perform the title track of 2010’s You Are Not Alone. It’s one of 21 songs on the double CD (the DVD adds two more) in a concert that reflects all the exuberance, positivity and vibrancy you’d expect from Staples who has exuded those tendencies over the course of her 65 and counting year career (she started singing professionally with her Staple Singers family in 1950, when she was just 11).

Although not a songwriter herself, Staples is a master interpreter, owning much of the material she sings. That makes this a set of covers of covers. They run the gamut from fairly recent material like Emmylou Harris’ sparkling take on the Nick Lowe penned “Far Celestial Shore” to Staples Singers’ era classics such as a rousing “Freedom Highway” from Michael McDonald, Widespread Panic’s animated version of Pops Staples’ “Hope in a Hopeless World” and a closing, all-in “The Weight,” first sung by the Staples in 1968 and famously revived in The Last Waltz, which connect on every level.”


Disc 1
1. Joan Osborne – You’re Driving Me
2. Keb’ Mo’ – Heavy Makes You Happy
3. Otis Clay – I Ain’t Raisin’ No Sand
4. Buddy Miller – Woke Up This Morning
5. Patty Griffin – Waiting For My Child To Come Home
6. Emmylou Harris – Far Celestial Shore
7. Michael McDonald – Freedom Highway
8. Glen Hansard – People Get Ready
9. Mavis & Aaron Neville – Respect Yourself
10. Widespread Panic – Hope In A Hopeless World
11. Ryan Bingham – If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me)
12. Grace Potter – Grandma’s Hands
13. Eric Church – Eyes On The Prize

Disc 2
1. Taj Mahal – Wade In The Water
2. Gregg Allman – Have A Little Faith
3. Mavis & Bonnie Raitt – Turn Me Around
4. Gregg Allman, Taj Mahal, Aaron Neville, Bonnie Raitt, & Mavis Staples – Will The Circle Be Unbroken
5. Mavis, Win Butler & Régine Chassagne – Slippery People
6. Mavis & Jeff Tweedy – You Are Not Alone
7. Mavis Staples – I’ll Take You There
8. Mavis & everybody: Encore: The Weight


Reviewed: Kathy Mattea at the Montalvo Arts Center

April 18, 2013 Leave a comment


by Cat Johnson

Last Friday night, Kathy Mattea played to a full house at Montalvo’s intimate Carriage House Theater. Mattea, who started her career in country music in 1983, has, on her last two albums, taken a musical turn to her Appalachian roots. On both 2008’s Coal and 2012’s Calling Me Home, Mattea explores the music, people and stories of her birthplace, West Virginia. The shift away from pop-country to roots music suits her nicely and she is playing some of the finest and most celebrated music of her career.

Kicking off the performance with “A Far Cry,” the first song on Calling Me Home and following it up with “Lonesome Standard Time,” a song she’s been singing for decades, Mattea set the tone for the night: some new material, some old favorites, sad stories and a lot of mountain soul.

A seasoned performer, Mattea had the audience in her hands from the first chord. She held down rhythm guitar duties, finger-picked a few tunes and even brought out the banjo. Her band, comprised of Bill Cooley on lead guitar, David Spicher on upright bass and vocals and Eamonn O’Rourke on mandolin, fiddle and vocals, was in top form, moving with ease and skill through impromptu set changes, improvisations, blazing solos and group singalongs—we had several of these; each one louder and more enjoyable than the last.

The theme of the night was definitely coal mining in West Virginia but Mattea also covered farming, cotton gins, cars, love, loss, trains and hard-working folks. In keeping with Appalachian music tradition, there were plenty of tearjerkers that really did—I saw two different people wiping away tears—make people cry. She also threw in some surprise numbers including a well-received cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” and “Happy Birthday” to a woman in the audience.

Breathing new life into familiar favorites including “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses” and “Dance a Little Closer,” Mattea made reference to being a country star in the ‘80s, with the “country music perm and shoulder pads” saying, “It was an unfortunate time to become famous” to which she received shouts of, “We love you, Kathy!”

A self-described song interpreter, Mattea gives voice to other people’s songs and stories, and she does it well. Her performance at the Carriage House was a return to Montalvo where she has played several times over the years. She says that her performances at the Art Center are some of the most memorable of her career and reminded the audience how fortunate we are to live in the Bay Area saying, “The rest of the country does not look like this. I hope you guys appreciate it.”

You Can Never Have too Many Johnny Cash Tributes…

August 8, 2012 Leave a comment

…and here’s a good, brand new one. Featuring Emmylou, Shooter Jennings, Lucinda Williams, Iron & Wine, Willie Nelson, Brandi Carlile, Sheryl Crow and many others, this live concert, CD/DVD set promises to send one rummaging through Cash’s catalog, revisiting favorites and forgotten sleepers.