Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Jeff Tweedy and Mavis Staples share thoughts on collaboration

Photo: Spencer Tweedy (

Recently, Wilco front man Jeff Tweedy and iconic gospel singer Mavis Staples joined in Wilco's Chicago studio, The Loft, to collaborate on Staples' upcoming album, You Are Not Alone (out September 14). Not only is the record produced by Tweedy, it also features two songs that he penned - the title track and "Only the Lord Knows." Now, the two are sharing their thoughts on the songs and their experiences working together.

"I have almost everything she's ever recorded, and I dug back through very thoroughly when I was given this job to do," Tweedy said in a press release. "I thought that if I refreshed myself about where she's been, it would help her figure out where she wanted to go. I wanted to be sure that we were making a record that she really wanted to make."

Of her time working with Tweedy, Staples said, "He would listen to my conversations, my words, and then feed off that...The songs he wrote take me places I wouldn't normally go. I wasn't used to singing this way, but it felt really good."

The release also provides a bit of detail on both Tweedy-penned songs. It explains how Staples was so touched by the emotional title track that she shed tears while singing it, thinking of her father. The singer describes the other track, "Only the Lord Knows," as politically-themed.

"You talk to this one, listen to that one, pick up the paper, but you can't get any answers. The White House, the church - I can't get any straight answers to the things I want to know," she said. "So for now, we're on our own, and we have to go to the Lord. He's the only one who knows."

For more details on the album, check out this post from our friends at

Staples is set to perform at Lollapalooza in Chicago's Grant Park on Friday, August 6.

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