Soul/gospel legend Mavis Staples recently completed work on We’ll Never Turn Back, the most personal album of her career. Set for April 24 release, the album was produced by Ry Cooder, and marks Mavis’ debut for Anti- Records.
We’ll Never Turn Back combines contemporized versions of some of the freedom songs that provided the soundtrack to the civil rights movement of the 1950s/60s, along with other traditional songs, and new originals written by Mavis and Ry.
With We'll Never Turn Back, Mavis Staples has come full circle with the Staple Singers and as a solo artist, singing songs that were seminal to a movement and time that helped form her as an artist. Alongside songs that were inextricably part of the Civil Rights movement, many of them associated with the Freedom Singers, Mavis co-wrote the title track with producer and guitarist Ry Cooder, sings a Cooder original, “I'll Be Rested” and opens the CD with a cover of bluesman J.B. Lenoir's “Down in Mississippi” connecting the disc to her own roots down South.
Ry Cooder with the help of his son Joaquin, drummer Jim Keltner, bassist Mike Elizando, many of the original Freedom Singers and South African choir Ladysmith Black Mambazo, creates soundscapes for Mavis heart-felt vocals that redefines much of the material while simultaneously casting it in a rich, vibrant deeply rooted past.
We'll Never Turn Back may have started as an homage to a period in which everyday citizens exhibited incredible bravery and, in the process, wrought incredible changes to American society. But it ended up being a deeply personal account of Mavis' life from childhood days in Mississippi, through the Civil Rights era and up to her current anger and indignation over the fact that many Americans are still treated as second class citizens.