Mavis Staples Calls For “Action” On New Tune-Yards Penned-Song

The soul great’s new album Liv’n' on a High Note is out Friday.

February 16, 2016
Mavis Staples Calls For “Action” On New Tune-Yards Penned-Song Jared Wickerham / Getty Images

This Friday will bring new music from Mavis Staples. A doyenne of American soul now fifty (plus!) years and running, her new album Livin' on a High Note is a collection of songs written for her by a host of modern day indie-rockers. Among those who have contributed to the project is Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards, whose "Action" premieres today on The FADER.


An easygoing call to arms, the song opens with Staples—who, now 76, has a touch of sage husk to her voice—begging the question, Who's going to do it if I don't?. "I wanted to write what she asked for: an upbeat, danceable song," Garbus elaborated in a note to The FADER, "but which also honored the Staples Singers’ tradition of songs that are relevant to right now, and which might inspire audiences to be brave themselves."

Livin' on a High Note will be released this Friday, February 19, via anti. Additional contributors include Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Nick Cave, Neko Case, Aloe Blacc, and M. Ward; peek the full track list below.


Livin’ on a High Note track list:

1. “Take Us Back” (Benjamin Booker)
2. “Love and Trust” (Ben Harper)
3. “If It’s a Light” (The Head & the Heart)
4. “Action” (tUnE-yArds)
5. “High Note” (Valerie June)
6. “Don’t Cry” (M. Ward)
7. “Tomorrow” (Aloe Blacc/John Batiste)
8. “Dedicated” (Justin Vernon/M.Ward)
9. “History Now” (Neko Case)
10. “One Love” (Son Little)
11. “Jesus Lay Down Beside Me” (Nick Cave)
12. MLK Song (M. Ward / Martin Luther King)

Mavis Staples Calls For “Action” On New Tune-Yards Penned-Song