Hailed by NPR as “one of America’s defining voices of freedom and peace,” MAVIS STAPLES is the kind of once-in-a-generation artist whose impact on music and culture would be difficult to overstate. She’s both a Blues and a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer; a civil rights icon; a GRAMMY Award-winner; a chart-topping soul/gospel/R&B pioneer; a National Arts Awards Lifetime Achievement recipient; and a Kennedy Center honoree. She marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., performed at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, and sang in Barack Obama’s White House. She’s collaborated with everyone from Prince and Bob Dylan to Arcade Fire and Hozier, blown away countless festivalgoers from Newport Folk and Glastonbury to Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, performed with The Band at The Last Waltz, and graced the airwaves on Fallon, Colbert, Ellen, Austin City Limits, Jools Holland, the GRAMMYs, and more.
“I’m the messenger,” Mavis Staples says on the eve of her 80th birthday. “That’s my job — it has been for my whole life — and I can’t just give up while the struggle’s still alive. We’ve got more work to do, so I’m going to keep on getting stronger and keep on delivering my message every single day.”
In partnership with Tucson Desert Song Festival
From 2007 until 2017, Suzanne Santo spent most of her time fronting the Americana duo HONEYHONEY, whittling her banjo, violin, and vocal chops into sharp shape along the way. Her first solo record ‘Ruby Red’ was released in 2017, produced by multi-platinum Grammy nominee Butch Walker.
Before they collaborated on Ruby Red, Santo had made multiple appearances on Walker’s eighth album, ‘Stay Gold’. She joined him on the road, too, singing harmonies and playing violin, guitar, and banjo during a nationwide tour in 2016. During breaks in her touring schedule, she began diving into a different type of songwriting, looking to diverse albums by Erykah Badu, David Bowie, Townes Van Zandt, and the Alabama Shakes for inspiration.
Santo spent the better part of 2018-19 singing and playing guitar/violin for Hozier, and had the great honour of opening on the ’18 winter European tour. She began writing songs for her next record during any open opportunities on the road, and is currently in Los Angeles recording her second album with producer/engineer and Grammy Award winner, John Spiker. Suzanne is excited to hit the road for a European tour as well as a US run in Fall ’19, while her release is slated for Spring ’20.