Whether she's singing about race relations "way down in Mississippi" or about going to heaven in "I'll take you there," Mavis Staples brings her church roots and smoky tenor to each of her classic gospel/blues tunes.
Staples is coming to the University of North Carolina Wilmington at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 5 in Kenan Auditorium.
Her songs are full of moral direction such as in the classic "Respect Yourself":
"If you don't give a heck about the man with a Bible in his hand
Just get out the way and let him do his thing."
In a 2004 NPR interview on the Tavis Smiley show, Staples spoke about the spiritual roots to her songs, even though they also resonate with the general public.
"I'm always kinda sure that they're getting the message because I did what Pops has always told me to do. He said: 'Mavis you don't need any gimmicks," she said. "You don't need to clown. You don't need to sing at the top of your voice when you're singing God's music. Sing from the heart and what comes from the heart reaches the heart."
Tickets to the UNCW concert are $25-35 (reserved seating).
Details: Kenan Auditorium Box Office, M-F, noon-6 p.m., 910.962.3500 or 800.732.3643 and at www.uncw.edu/arts.