At 79, Mavis Staples still can move a crowd. Her Out of Space performances at Canal Shores golf course July 27 and 28 had many members of the audience on their feet clapping, waving, singing and cheering the venerable gospel/pop singer. She is the last of the famed Chicago Staple Singers, headed by Pop Staples, whose music sometimes echoed and sometimes led the Civil Rights marches of the 1960s.
With her band – Rick Holmstrom – guitar & vocals; Jeff Turmes – bass, guitar & vocals; Stephen Hodges – drums, Donny Gerrard – vocals; Vicki Randle – vocals – she performed “You Are Not Alone,” from her collaboration with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. She generously allowed the audience to join her in the Staples classic “I’ll Take You There” and Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” praising the excited, hoarse or raucous voices and asking that the audience drink tea and honey so they could record with her on her next visit.
Some might have hoped for an encore of “I Shall Not Be Moved,” but Ms. Staples went in a different direction – one that left her fans satisfied rather than self-satisfied. Still standing for the rights of the powerless, Ms. Staples’ encore evoked the children at this country’s southern border. “No child should be without a mother when they have a mother,” she said, vowing to go to the White House and tell President Donald Trump what she thinks of his policies and leaving no doubt she would do just that.