Pepperdine University Center for the Arts presents a concert by Grammy-winning vocalist Mavis Staples at 8 p.m. on Saturday, January 25, at Smothers Theatre on the University's Malibu campus.

 

Tickets, priced at $20, $40, and $45 for the public and $10 for full-time Pepperdine students, are available now by calling (310) 506-4522 or online at http://arts.pepperdine.edu/. More information: http://mavisstaples.com/

 

Staples' three-piece band and a trio of backup vocalists join her for this concert.

 

For six decades Staples has been a solid rock of American music. Both with the groundbreaking family gospel group the Staple Singers and on her own, she has blazed an R&B trail, while never relinquishing her gospel roots.

 

Staples is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, and a National Heritage Fellowship Award recipient. VH1 named her one of the 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll, and Rolling Stone listed her as one of its 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Rolling Stone also named the Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There" and "Respect Yourself" among its Top 500 Songs of All Time.

 

Not many musicians can claim to exist outside any scene, any genre, yet weave themselves into the fabric of soul, R&B, jazz, gospel, rock, and blues as has Mavis Staples. That she has created her legacy as an interpreter of others--an underestimated talent since the days of the band singers--makes her achievements all the more impressive.

 

Not only does she give voice to others, but she also gives voice to entire movements, to eras, and to songs so old that their roots are lost. From the Delta-inflected gospel sound she helped create in the 1950s, to the protests of the civil rights era, and then, amazingly, on pop radio in the Stax Records era with a series of soul anthems, Staples has carried on.

 

Her first album with Wilco bandleader Jeff Tweedy at the controls, You Are Not Alone, won a much-deserved Grammy. Her second collaboration with him, One True Vine, is an album that solidifies her position at the helm of American music. A gospel album for the 21st century, it strives for faith in a world where nothing can be taken for granted and showcases a new reserve in her singing--a muted, plaintive quality that serves perfectly these darker, more nuanced songs.

 

Recently recognition of Staples' unique role in American music has been growing beyond her longtime fans, dipping into the wider world of pop. In 2013 she performed alongside Justin Timberlake at the White House tribute to Memphis Soul, and she also sang with Elton John in a show-stealing Grammy tribute to the late Levon Helm of The Band.