Mavis in Malibu

National Public Radio had Mavis Staples on, promoting her newest collaboration with Jeff Tweedy.

I’m intrigued as Wilco is one of my favorite bands, and listening to Mavis speak about her life story is one of true fascination.

“I wonder if she is touring?”

I do a little Google search, find out that she is playing next Saturday night in Malibu, California. I get lucky and find a ticket, and plans are made for the weekend.

I make it to the shore and sit on the beach before the show begins at the Pepperdine just up the hill. Time to take in the thunderous crashing of the waves, sand in between my toes, sun on my pale skin.

A little girl plays in the surf, her dad watching carefully. Flashes of the past flood my memory and I see my sister and father before me, playing and laughing…..

Thoughts go back to the radio program, and one hauntingly beautiful song, ” You are not alone”.  Mavis simply states it is about hope, which everyone needs at some point in their lives.

It dawns on me that the day is January 25th, the day my little sis died. At the beginning of the show, Mavis tells us that her hope is to inspire, to laugh, to make us feel….

She moves slowly at first on stage, being seventy four years old has that effect. After a few songs though, you can feel her spirit take over and she dances and wiggles with unbridled joy.

Six decades of entertaining the masses, with time to also be a civil rights activist. Mavis’s story of marching from Selma to Birmingham Alabama brings the audience to tears.

I didn’t think it would happen, but near the end, she sings my favorite song.

My sister is above me, singing along.

Thank you Mavis.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?