Veteran soul singer Mavis Staples announced her latest album Thursday — and the record, scheduled for a Feb. 19 release, comes with a mild twist. For Livin’ On a High Note, her fifteenth studio album and the follow-up to 2013’s One True Vine, Staples turned to folkie M. Ward for production and recruited a slate of indie artists for songwriting duties that includes Nick Cave, Justin Vernon, tUnE-yArDs, Neko Case, and Benjamin Booker.
“I’ve been singing my freedom songs and I wanted to stretch out and sing some songs that were new,” Staples said in a statement. “I told the writers I was looking for some joyful songs. I want to leave something to lift people up; I’m so busy making people cry, not from sadness, but I’m always telling a part of history that brought us down and I’m trying to bring us back up. These songwriters gave me a challenge. They gave me that feeling of, ‘Hey, I can hang! I can still do this!’ There’s a variety, and it makes me feel refreshed and brand new. … I’m living on a high note, I’m above the clouds. I’m just so grateful. I must be the happiest old girl in the world.”
Staples has collaborated with artists outside the soul sphere before, working with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy on her previous two albums. M. Ward has an album of his own coming out in February.
Along with the album announcement, Staples shared that the documentary about her, Mavis!, will hit HBO on Feb. 29. Check out the film’s trailer below and head over to Pitchfork to hear “High Note,” a Livin’ track written by roots artist Valerie June.