Following a tour announcement with Bob Dylan this morning, vocalist Mavis Staples has announced a new album and released the title track, “If All I Was Was Black.” The tune comes from her upcoming If All I Was Was Black, a collection of originals arranged by Staples and Jeff Tweedy, and is due out November 17. The Wilco frontman penned 11 songs from the upcoming album, with three co-written by Staples. The album is focused on the ongoing racial conflicts in the United States, and how they affect her.“I’ve always thought of art as a political statement in and of itself – that it was enough to be on the side of creation and not destruction. But there is something that feels complicit at this moment in time about not facing what is happening in this country head on,” explains Tweedy. If All I Was Was Black is their third collaboration together, following 2010’s You Are Not Along and 2013’s One True Vine, and is inspired by “the love I have for Mavis and the desire to be part of some kind of positive change.” Mavis Staples continues, “We didn’t make the songs point to a specific person. If you follow the lyrics it’s about yesterday and today.”In the title track below, Tweedy wrote the music to the lyrics by Mavis. If All I Was Was Black is set to drop November 17 on Anti-Records, and was written to “bring us all together as a people. That’s what I hope to do. You can’t stop me. You can’t break me. I’m too loving. These songs are going to change the world.” Listen to her message below:
View Comments The New York Premiere of Perfect Arrangement, written by Topher Payne, will play Primary Stages off-Broadway this fall. The comedy joins the previously announced Informed Consent, The Body of an American and Exit Strategy. Performances will begin on a September date to be announced. Michael Barakiva will direct.The play takes place in the midst of the Red Scare, in which the worlds of I Love Lucy and Edward R. Murrow clash as a U.S. State Department worker disrupts the corny and complacent lives of the Martindales and the Baxters. The play received th 2014 American Critics Association Osborn New Play Award.The season begins in August with Deborah Zoe Laufer’s Informed Consent, directed by Liesl Tommy. Jo Bonney will direct Dan O’Brien’s The Body of an American in February 2016, and Ike Holter’s Exit Strategy will begin the following month under the direction of Kip Fagan.