One True Vine
Jul 03, 2013 Web Exclusive
Proclaiming the merits of a gospel album from a singer whose public popularity peaked some 40 years ago and whose album is produced by a '90s alt-country singer (who, along with his son, also plays all the instruments), might normally be a tough task. Fortunately, One True Vine is a neat reminder, if any were needed, that Mavis Staples has a voice that has matured from merely outstanding to one of the most unique and perfect going today.
Furthermore the producer in question is once again Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. As on previous record You Are Not Alone, his production is light and crisp, allowing Staples' voice to take center stage. Often this might result in the songs sounding same-y, but the shared writing credits neatly sidestep this potential pitfall. Impressively, Staples owns tunes by great songsmiths such as Tweedy himself ("Jesus Wept") and Nick Lowe (the glorious "Celestial Shore"), and even sounds natural on the cover of psychedelic pioneers Funkadelic's "Can You Get to That." (www.mavisstaples.com)
Author rating: 7.5/10
Average reader rating: 7/10