SNEAK PEEK: Mavis Staples brings soul to the Belly Up

by Staff

From gospel to folk, Mavis Staples has incorporated various musical influences into her unique sound. Courtesy of Mavis Staples

Belly Up takes a break from indie rockers to honor a true talent

By Paul Hernandez, Staff Writer

A treasured voice in music is one way to define Mavis Staples’ sound. Bob Dylan once described her as “the epitome of soul.” However one might articulate the “sound” of her soul, there is no doubt it is dynamic and mighty. Whether she is shouting or whispering, Staples never loses command of a song. The soundtrack of her career, thus far, has ventured into the deepest ends of humanity.

Together with her family’s group, The Staple Singers, Staples’ leading anthems of the civil rights movement brought the power of gospel and folk music into the everyday home. Now in her 70s, Mavis has joined hands with fellow Chicago resident and Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy for her latest album, “You Are Not Alone.”

It’s only fitting that Staples’ unburden delivery will be shared onstage with a champion of blues harmonica, Charlie Musselwhite, who continues to write chapters of music as well. Musselwhite’s uncanny blue-collar wisdom, displayed throughout a 43-year career, continues to lyrically shed light in a conversational manner, while his harmonica blazes in and out of songs. From the hillsides of Mississippi to the boroughs of the south side of Chicago, Musselwhite has established a vital and creative well that overflows with true grit and honesty.

Staples and Musselwhite will be performing at 7:45 p.m. tonight at the Belly Up Tavern. For more information about the show, please visit Belly Up’s website at

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