‘Night of Celebration’ in Greenwich to feature Mavis Staples

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In between performances in New Orleans and Gulf Shores, Ala., the celebrated Mavis Staples will be making a stop up north, to present a “Night of Celebration,” along with Greenwich’s Rob Mathes. The 8 p.m. concert, planned for Saturday, May 19, is part of the “Conversations on Courage and Faith” program presented by Christ Church Greenwich.

Through lectures, performances and other experiences, it is hoped that visitors are inspired and equipped to “live Christianity in our postmodern world.”

Staples, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, will not only be joined by Mathes, an award-winning musician, composer and producer in his own right, but also by a gospel band.

Staples latest album, “You Are Not Alone,” which was produced by Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, is a followup to her 2007 record “We’ll Never Turn Back” and her 2009 live album, “Hope at the Hideout,” which earned a Grammy nomination.

Staples began her career in the late 1950s, singing with her family band The Staples Singers, which is described by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum as having left “an imprint of soulful voices, social activism, religious conviction and danceable ‘message music’ across the decades.”

Staples herself has endured, having received Grammy nominations in blues, gospel, folk and pop categories throughout the past 10 years.

As she noted on her website about “You Are Not Alone:”

After the ‘We’ll Never Turn Back’ CD, I didn’t know which way to turn. Did I want to do a country record, a gospel record, or what? So I needed a sound like this — something that fit my message, but flowed in a different direction from where I would normally take a song so it wasn’t just the same old same old.

I wanted to make an album where every song had meaning. Where every song told a story and would lift you up and give you a reason to get up in the morning. And I know it’s going to feel really good singing these songs on stage.

Tickets are $40, and available at the “Conversations” series or church’s website. Tickets also can be picked up at the Christ Church Greenwich Bookstore, 254 E. Putnam Ave., Greenwich.

Christina Hennessy

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