Mavis Staples: Newport Folk 2009 The former lead singer of The Staple Singers has spent her career navigating the worlds of blues, gospel, pop, soul and folk.

Newport Folk Festival

Mavis Staples: Newport Folk 2009Folk Alley

Mavis Staples: Newport Folk 2009

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/111367884/111467573" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The former lead singer of The Staple Singers and a major voice of the civil rights movement, Mavis Staples has spent her career navigating the worlds of blues, gospel, pop, soul and political folk, mapping where they overlap and drawing unexpected links where they diverge. Staples says that as a youth, she was chided for singing too much like a boy, but her low voice has become her trademark. Rough-hewn, fiery and defiant, it's taken her places: In her youth, she performed for Martin Luther King Jr., while Bob Dylan reportedly asked for her hand in marriage and Barack Obama used her hit "I'll Take You There" at campaign events in 2008.

Staples' most recent studio record, We'll Never Turn Back, was produced by Ry Cooder and features some of the most explicitly political songwriting in a career that has seen no shortage of activism. In 2008, Staples released Live: Hope at the Hideout, an album of covers, traditional songs and originals (mostly drawn from We'll Never Turn Back), recorded on a Monday night at Chicago's Hideout.

Set List
  • "For What It's Worth"
  • "Eyes on the Prize"
  • "Too Close to Heaven"
  • "Wade in the Water"
  • "Waiting for My Child to Come Home"
  • "The Weight"
  • "Why Am I Treated So Bad"
  • "Instrumental"
  • "Band Intro"
  • "Freedom Highway"
  • "Respect Yourself"
  • "I'll Take You There"

Related NPR Stories

Web Resources

[+] read more[-] less

More From Newport Folk Festival

John Paul White performs at the 2017 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

John Paul White, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2017

"If you came to this set looking to be cheered up, you're screwed," White deadpanned from the stage. His music can give goosebumps, even on a sunny summer day; hear his set at Newport now.

John Paul White, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2017

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/539348461/542435387" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Joseph performs at the 2017 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Joseph, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2017

The Portland trio, composed of sisters Natalie, Meegan and Allison Closner, makes music that invites its audience to share in its bond of sisterhood. Hear Joseph's set at Newport Folk now.

Joseph, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2017

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/539346196/542434613" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Julia Jacklin performs at the 2017 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Julia Jacklin, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2017

The folk-rock singer from Australia's Blue Mountains makes music that confronts all the anxieties a 20-something feels about getting older. Hear songs from her debut album, Don't Let The Kids Win.

Julia Jacklin, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2017

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/539344405/542433897" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Wilco performs at the 2017 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Wilco, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2017

Twenty years in, the Chicago band has staying power without sacrificing a sense of sonic exploration. Hear its catalog-spanning Newport Folk set now.

Wilco, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2017

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/539980569/542131363" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Margaret Glaspy performs at the 2017 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Margaret Glaspy, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2017

The folk-rock singer performed songs from her acclaimed debut album — plus some new tracks — at Newport.

Margaret Glaspy, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2017

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/539348329/542133440" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Pinegrove performs at the 2017 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Pinegrove, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2017

Hear the band play its tender songs about home, friendship and growing up, live at Newport Folk.

Pinegrove, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2017

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/539347880/542125521" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Drive-By Truckers perform at the 2017 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Drive-By Truckers, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2017

The band kept up a keen-edged commentary on xenophobia, censorship and racism throughout its set of gritty Southern rock. Hear its set now.

Drive-By Truckers, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2017

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/539347047/542129563" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Marlon Williams (right) and bandmate Dave Khan perform at the 2017 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Marlon Williams, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2017

Though he was new to many in the audience, the New Zealander's lonesome set was the one festivalgoers were talking about for the rest of the weekend. Hear it now.

Marlon Williams, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2017

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/539345237/540961653" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Brent Cobb performs at the 2017 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Brent Cobb, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2017

The Georgia-born roots musician's songs tell detailed, easy-paced stories of family and close friends. Hear his Newport Folk set, with special guest Jade Bird.

Brent Cobb, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2017

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/539478392/540729361" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top