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PRESS PLAY: 6 New Albums Out Today

Mavis Staples | photo by Myriam Santos | courtesy of the artist

Friday is new release day and each week we’ll feature a selection of new albums being released and songs we LOVE.  This week, the music ranges from the legendary Mavis Staples to up-and-comers Middle Kids.  Here are six albums worthy of your ears: Continue reading →

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Mavis Staples teams up with Ben Harper for new album We Get By

Mavis Staples | photo by Myriam Santos | courtesy of the artist

Mavis Staples has announced that her new album We Get By will be released May 10. Produced by Ben Harper, it will be the legendary songwriter’s 12th studio album. The lead single “Change” is out now, setting the tone for an album that will be filled with Staples’ messages of love and hope for a divided world. Continue reading →

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Mavis Staples announces Jeff Tweedy collaboration If All I Was Was Black

Mavis Staples | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

XPN Fest veterans and longtime friends Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco) have collaborated together a few times before, but the just-announced If All I Was Was Black is a particularly special project. Slated for a November 17 release on Anti- Records, the 10-track album was produced and written by Tweedy, with vocalist Staples contributing to the lyrics on three tracks. In addition to being the first full-length of original material the the two have worked on together, If All I Was Was Black takes on a political tone, addressing racial tension in a way that advocates for spreading love and positivity. Continue reading →

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Listen to alternate versions of Arcade Fire / Mavis Staples collab “I Give You Power,” benefitting the ACLU

arcade fire
Arcade Fire | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Following up on last week’s “I Give You Power” collaboration with Mavis Staples, Arcade Fire have shared two new versions of the single – a full instrumental cut and a choppier “Broken Speaker” remix. The song (and the “alternative songs”) marks the Canadian outfit’s first new material since 2013’s Reflektor and benefits the American Civil Liberties Union.

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This Day in Music History: Creedence Clearwater Revival release their 3rd album of 1969, The Police release their debut

The Police Outlandos d'Amour

1920 – KDKA in Pittsburgh becomes the first commercially licensed radio station in the United States. With consumers unsure about benefits of radio, the station announces results of the Harding-Cox presidential election, getting the news to those with a radio much faster than everyone who had to wait for the morning paper.

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XPN Fest Recap: Mavis Staples takes us there with a powerful River Stage performance

Mavis Staples | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN
Mavis Staples | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

After singing “Freedom Highway,” Mavis Staples shared the story behind the song written by her father in 1962. “Pops Staples wrote that song for the big march,” she told us of the iconic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. “I was there, and I’m still here…I’m a living witness, a soldier!” she said. Staples went on to say that she’s part of an army of love, fighting for hope and peace.

It was a well-timed moment from a timeless musician. In a weekend where one performer told the festival faithful that the evils of the world were the reasoning behind him cutting his performance short, Staples took the opposite approach. She provided the antidote to the evils of the world, a performance full of heart and happiness. The 77-year-old used every ounce of soul in her to put together a show even better than what her household reputation called for. Continue reading →