Mavis Staples

By Ron Wynn 

NASHVILLE, TN — One of the nation’s premier vocalists will be appearing Sunday in Franklin. The legendary Mavis Staples will be performing a benefit concert for the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County (AAHS). The event will be held at Liberty Hall in The Factory at Franklin and is produced by the ERACE Foundation. Staples will be joined by Tommy Sims and Tom Douglas as well as other special guests. The night will begin with a writer’s round hosted by Sims. The segment will be a combination of the songwriter’s original songs and some of the Staples’ family songs as a ‘tribute’ to her life and her family’s music legacy. The evening will conclude with a concert by Staples. “We want to honor and celebrate the legacy of Mavis and the musical legacy that she has been a part of that benefits us all,” Alma McLemore, executive director of AAHS, said in a press release.

Mavis Staples’ accomplishments and achievements are lengthy and extremely impressive. She’s the last surviving member of the Staple Singers, a group that enjoyed both gospel and soul music fame while performing a host of iconic tunes in both genres. They also became one of the prominent voices of the Civil Rights Movement. The group’s greatest soul hits were the singles “I’ll Take You There” and “Let’s Do It Again.” She’s been a solo artist since releasing her first album as a lead act in 1969. 

Since that time, Mavis Staples has collaborated with a host of greats, among them Aretha Franklin, Prince, Arcade Fire, Nona Hendryx, Ry Cooder, and David Byrne. Her eighth studio album “You Are Not Alone” (2010), was her first as a solo performer to top a Billboard chart, hitting number one the Top Gospel Albums list. It also earned Staples her first Grammy Award win. Later came the LPs “One True Vine” (2013), “Livin’ on a High Note” (2016), “If All I Was Was Black” (2017), and “We Get By” (2019). Staples was also featured on the single “Nina Cried Power” by Hozier.

She is a recipient of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and has won multiple Grammy Awards. Staples most recently was a featured artist on Jon Batiste’s “Album of the Year” Grammy winner. She’s been named   one of the ‘100 Greatest Singers of all Time’ by Rolling Stone, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999, and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2018, as a member of The Staple Singers. Additionally, Staples was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2016, and the following year inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame as a solo performer.  She received the inaugural Rock Hall Honors Award from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a solo performer in 2019.

“I am the messenger,” Staples said in commenting on her upcoming concert for the AAHS.. “That’s my job; it has been my whole life, so I am going to keep on delivering my message every single day”. 

The concert begins at 7 p.m. General admission tickets are $80 and premier seating tickets are $120 per person. For more information or to obtain tickets visit the AAHS website at

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