Mavis Staples: "You Are Not Alone"

Jeff Tweedy produces an album by a gospel-soul legend at Wilco's Chicago headquarters and writes her a couple of songs to boot. An odd pairing? Perhaps. But this first taste, a simple soul-folk tune à la Bill Withers' "Lean on Me," driven by acoustic guitar, celesta and piano, is the sweetest Tweedy song in a while. And Staples — a civil-rights-era front-liner who dated Dylan — sounds, at 71, as inspiring as ever. "Isolated and afraid/Open up, this is a raid," she sings. "I wanna get it through to you/You're not alone." Amen, sister.