I go through a process as I listen to an album for the first time. Because of the volume of music I listen to every week, it's rather quick, but a process nonetheless. Even with a legendary musician like Mavis Staples, one I am so ready to accept absolutely, it takes a certain amount of time before an album kicks in, takes hold. And that moment when it does, the moment when I'm swept away is my favorite part of the music listening routine.
As I made my way through "You Are Not Alone" the new CD from Chicago's Mavis Staples, I asked myself "Do I like this?" and "Am I going to get blown away?" I experienced a slow build, and by the time I circled through a few times, I was sold. The song choices are inspired, and include a few written by her dad the late "Pops" Staples, a couple by the album's producer, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy (love the title track written by Jeff!), and one from Randy Newman, "Losing You", another killer song choice. Mavis has so much depth as a singer and what I realized was happening with the slow build was that I was traveling inside her sound, with all of it's subtlety and breadth of experience. And all at once, I got to the center and found what I was hoping for, what she was going for.
Listen to clips from the CD here.