When I first heard Mavis Staples' 2010 release `You are not alone', I was bown away by the majesty of the album, the powerful vocals matched with an impressive production and an honest faith that imbued every note. I had looked forward mightily to a follow up release, and it is finally here. And it is another powerful and beautiful piece.
The tone is a little more downbeat than the previous release, there is a hint of melancholia hovering around the songs. This is still a gospel album however, and the sense of faith still pervades, and every now and then (as with the perennial favourite `Woke Up This Morning With My Mind On Jesus') Mavis takes it up a gear and lets her joyful side shine through. Mavis is a great singer, and every syllable she utters carries an emotional punch.
Of equal importance I feel is the production, from Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. The production is rich without being lush, and, like Mavis' voice has'plenty of bottom' as my granny would say. It perfectly matches the voice, being subtle and understated for most of the time, supporting Mavis' singing, but occasionally bursting out with a little bombast.
It's a perfect pairing of producer and singer, and the combination has provided us with another great album. 5 stars, and respect to Mavis for her huge artistry that just shines through here.