Mavis Staples to Rock MASS MoCA

Mavis Staples

(NORTH ADAMS, N.Y.) – Mavis Staples, a scion of America’s first family of socially conscious soul-gospel music and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, brings her unique blend of gospel, soul, folk, pop, R&B, blues, and rock to the Hunter Center at MASS MoCA on Saturday, March 25, at 8pm.

Staples makes frequent appearances in the greater region, having performed last summer at Tanglewood, opening for Bob Dylan, and performing at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington and at Club Helsinki Hudson in recent years.

Even after achieving the status of a living legend for her work with the Staple Singers and her solo achievements, Mavis Staples has enjoyed an entirely new chapter in the past decade or so, including her collaboration with Jeff Tweedy on two Grammy Award-winning recordings, including 2011’s “You Are Not Alone” and 2013’s “One True Vine.”

Staples also recently worked with a who’s who of Americana music on “Livin’ on a High Note,” produced by indie-rock hero M. Ward and featuring contributions by Neko Case, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Ben Harper, and Tune-Yards.

The Staple Singers, led by patriarch Roebuck “Pops” Staples, began life as a folk-gospel group in the early 1950s, on the strength of his songwriting and his daughter Mavis’s gluey, elastic vocals. They achieved critical and commercial success in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and became inextricably identified with the Civil Rights Movement, owing to Pops’s close friendship with Dr. Martin Luther King. They sang at demonstrations and rallies and marches, and recorded songs by politically oriented songwriters including Bob Dylan and Stephen Stills.

Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples began making solo recordings in the late 1960s. She achieved great renown for her performance with the Staple Singers in The Band’s farewell concert, “The Last Waltz,” captured in the Martin Scorsese film. She is a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner and a National Heritage Fellowship Award recipient.  VH1 named her one of the 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll, and Rolling Stone listed her as one of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

Lickety Split, MASS MoCA’s café, serves up crisp salads, hearty soups, and lip-smacking pub fare. A full bar serves Bright Ideas Brewing beers and Berkshire Mountain Distillery spirits. Tickets are $35 for students and in advance, $45 day of, and $55 preferred. Tickets for all events are available through the MASS MoCA box office located on Marshall Street in North Adams, open 11am to 5pm every day except Tuesdays. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during box office hours or purchased online at MASS MoCA.


MASS MoCA is one of the world’s liveliest (and largest) centers for making, displaying, and enjoying today’s most important art, music, dance, theater, film, and video. MASS MoCA will nearly double its gallery space in spring 2017, with artist partnerships that include Laurie Anderson, the Louise Bourgeois Trust, Jenny Holzer, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and James Turrell.

Gallery admission is $18 for adults, $16 for veterans and seniors, $12 for students, $8 for children 6 to 16, and free for children 5 and under through May 21, 2017. Members are admitted free year-round. The Hall Art Foundation’s Anselm Kiefer exhibition is open seasonally, spring – fall. For additional information, call 413.662.2111 x1 or visit MASS MoCA.

Hours: 11am to 5pm, closed Tuesdays





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