Album review | GOSPEL

Mavis Staples, ‘One True Vine’

Mavis Staples won a Grammy for the first album she made with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, but it’s arguable that “One True Vine,” her second with him, is even better. It’s also arguable that Tweedy’s name should be alongside hers on the cover, with Tweedy having not only produced the record, but also contributed songs written for Staples and played behind her. However that may be, “One True Vine” resonates with the spirit, and sometimes the sounds, of traditional black gospel while seamlessly combining old and new. Alan Sparhawk of Low’s searching affirmation “Holy Ghost” and Nick Lowe’s “Far Celestial Shores” trade off with public domain songs; the soaring, full-on gospel reprise of Funkadelic’s “Can You Get to That” gives way to the gorgeous country-soul of Tweedy’s “Jesus Wept” and then to a version of the Staple Singers’ “I Like the Things About Me” updated with guitar pyrotechnics that Pop Staples would surely have appreciated. As ever, Staples is testifying, but she sings here with a reserve that is a testament to the power and intensity that can be conveyed by holding back, and she has never sounded better or more moving. (Out Tuesday)STUART MUNRO 

ESSENTIAL “Jesus Wept”


Stuart Munro can be reached at