Mavis Staples teams with Ben Harper for new album, We Get By, shares lead single “Change”: Stream

The famed singer will celebrate the LP and her 80th birthday with a series of star-studded concerts in May

Mavis Staples Myriam Santos ben harper we get by change new album announcement tour dates
Mavis Staples, photo by Myriam Santos

    Mavis Staples has announced her 12th solo studio album. Entitled We Get By, it’s due out on May 10th through ANTI- Records.

    We Get By serves as the follow-up to 2017’s If All I Was Was Black, which was written and produced by Wilco frontman and frequent collaborator Jeff Tweedy. This time, Staples has teamed up with Ben Harper, who composed 11 original tracks meant to offer “love, hope, and history during a politically divided era.”

    Appropriately, Staples looked to famed American photographer and civil rights documentarian Gordon Parks in creating the album’s cover. The powerful visual is part of a 1956 photo essay published in Life titled, “The Restraints: Open and Hidden”, which focused on exposing the effects of American racial segregation. In 2017, Staples won the Gordon Parks Foundation Award in recognition of her inspiring and creative body of work.


    (Read: Protest Music Disappeared in a Year of Protests)

    As a first listen of We Get By, Staples and Harper have released “Change”, a defiant blues number, characterized by an easy swing, rockin’ rhythmic guitar, and gospel-inspired harmonies. Throughout the song, the legendary singer frankly assess the state of freedom in the US with poignant commentary on shootings. In the number, she belts, “What good is freedom/ If we haven’t learned to be free?”, frequently punctuating her ideas with the energized refrain of “We got to change/ Around here/ Say it loud/ Say it clear.”

    Listen to the track below, and pre-order We Get By here. You can also pick up more Staples vinyl here.

    We Get By Artwork:

    We Get By Mavis Staples Ben Harper Album Cover Gordon Owen

    We Get By Tracklist:
    01. Change
    02. Anytime
    03. We Get By (ft. Ben Harper)
    04. Brothers and Sisters
    05. Heavy on My Mind
    06. Sometime
    07. Never Needed Anyone
    08. Stronger
    09. Chance on Me
    10. Hard to Leave
    11. One More Change


    The former Staples Singers will celebrate her 80th birthday and the release of We Get By with a trio of shows dubbed “Mavis & Friends: Celebrating 80 Years of Mavis Staples”, which benefit the Newport Folk Festival Foundation’s music education initiatives. Scheduled at New York City’s Apollo Theater on May 9th, Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on May 15th, and Los Angeles’ Ace Hotel on May 22nd, each date will find the octogenarian performing alongside some of her frequent collaborators and musical friends.

    Staples remarks, “I just wanted the world to know that I made it to 80!… I am letting my fans know that I’m over the hill, but now I’m going over the mountain.”

    These new shows come in addition to a number of festival dates and headlining shows throughout the spring and summer. See her full itinerary below, and get tickets here.


    Mavis Staples 2019 Tour Dates: 
    03/22 – Jackson, MS @ Thalia Mara Hall
    03/29 – Albuquerque, NM @ Isleta Resort & Casino
    04/13 – Decatur, GA @ Amplify Decatur Music Festival
    04/14 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Baton Rouge Blues Festival
    04/18-21 – Byron Bay, AU @ Byron Bay Bluesfest
    04/23 – Auckland, NZ @ The Civic ^
    05/02 – New Orleans, LA @ New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
    05/09 – New York, NY @ Apollo Theater *
    05/15 – Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium *
    05/22 – Los Angeles, CA @ Ace Hotel *
    05/31 – Ogden, UT @ Ogden Music Festival
    06/09 – Nelsonville, OH @ Nelsonville Music Festival
    06/23 – Dublin, IE @ Olympia Theatre
    06/25 – Norrmalm, SE @ Nalen
    06/26-30 – Worthy Farm, UK @ Glastonbury Music Festival
    06/27 – Amsterdam, NL @ Theater Carré
    06/28 – Antwerpen, BE @ Open-Air Theatre
    07/02 – Bath, UK @ The Forum
    07/04 – London, UK – Roundhouse
    07/06 – Lyon, France @ Theatres Romaines De Fourviere
    07/16 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre #
    07/17 – Aspen, CO @ Belly Up Aspen
    07/19 – Chicago, IL @ Pitchfork Music Festival
    07/31 – Cape May, NJ @ Cape May Convention Hall
    08/01 – Vienna, VA @ Filene Center at Wolf Trap %
    08/03 – Lagrange, GA @ Sweetland Amphitheatre at Boyd Park
    09/06 – Philadelphia, PA @ Mann Center for the Performing Arts $
    09/21 – North Adams, MA @ FreshGrass Festival
    10/05 – Florence, AL @ Shoals Fest

    ^ = w/ Tami Neilson
    * = Mavis & Friends: Celebrating 80 Years of Mavis Staples
    # = w/ Norah Jones
    % = w/ Lyle Lovett
    $= w/ Brandi Carlile