In the last couple weeks, Mavis Staples performed two 80th birthday shows and released her third album in three years – “I’m not as sharp as I used to be when I’m talking,” Staples told Rolling Stone recently, “but I feel like I’m ready for another 10 years.”
Staples celebrated the release of her new album We Get By by stopping by Jimmy Kimmel Live with Ben Harper, who wrote and produced the album, to sing “Change,” a shuffly blues number about rising above injustice. “What good is freedom,” Staples howls, “if we haven’t learned how to be free?” “These songs are delivering such a strong message,” Staples said of the new album. “We truly need to make a change if we want this world to be better.”
Staples will perform her final 80th birthday celebration in Los Angeles tomorrow night (her real birthday is July 10th), joined by Jason Isbell, Joe Henry, Taylor Goldsmith, Phoebe Bridgers and more. She plays a series of festivals this summer, plus major shows like Colorado’s Red Rocks with Norah Jones and a show at Madison Square Garden with Brandi Carlile in September.