The Crusader Newspaper Group

93XRT presents Mavis Staples

The New 411

By Raymond Ward, Chicago Crusader

For many years the adult alternative radio station 93XRT was known by its very popular slogan “Chicago’s Finest Rock.” Today Chicago’s Finest Rock station is still known for its rock music as well as for hosting many concerts like Mavis Staples at the Symphony Center on Friday, February 17, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

Staples, a Chicago native and Grammy® Award-winner, is renowned for her extensive career in gospel music, R&B and as a civil rights activist. Adding to the numerous awards received during her six-decade career, Staples received a Kennedy Center Honors in December 2016.

Staples has collaborated with a wide range of artists from Prince to Bob Dylan to Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and her songs have reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart. Opening the evening at the Symphony Center is Asheville, North Carolina-based American musician Phil Cook and his band The Guitarheels performing selections from Cook’s debut solo album “Southland Mission “along with songs from the American songbook.

Staples’ Symphony Center performance includes selections from her critically-acclaimed February 2016 release “Livin’ On A High Note,” featuring new, original material written for her by Neko Case, Nick Cave, Ben Harper, Tune-Yards, Bon Iver and others.

Joining her at Symphony Center are Rick Holmstrom, music director, guitar and vocals; Donny Gerrard, lead and backing vocals; Stephen Hodges, drums and percussion; Vicki Randle, lead and backing vocals and percussion; and Jeff Turmes, bass, guitar and vocals, musicians who have also performed with Staples on her albums “Live: Hope at the Hideout,” “You Are Not Alone,” “One True Vine,” “Your Good Fortune” and “Livin’ On A High Note.”

Staples began her career in 1954 at age 13 when she joined her brother and sisters as The Staple Singers. She continued with a solo career, recording numerous hits including “I’ll Take You There” and “Freedom Highway,” as well as giving voice to the songs of the Civil Rights era. Staples embraces her musical evolution, absorbing new sounds and ideas, rising to meet the challenges of longevity and bringing her message of hope and positivity to new listeners. Staples recently was profiled in the HBO documentary “Mavis!”

Phil Cook is a singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist who has worked with a variety of artists including “Megafaun,” “The Shouting Matches,” “Hiss Golden Messenger,” “The Blind Boys of Alabama” and “Amy Ray of The Indigo Girls.” In 2015, Cook released his first solo release “Southland Mission” for which he worked with some of his favorite collaborators including his brother and co-producer Brad Cook, Frazey Ford, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Andrew Marlin (Mandolin Orange) and Amelia Meath (Sylvan Esso, Mountain Man).

Tickets for 93XRT presents Mavis Staples at Symphony Center can be purchased by phone at 800-223-7114 or 312-294-3000; online at, or at the Symphony Center box office: 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60604.

Discounted student tickets for select concerts can be purchased, subject to availability, online in advance or at the box office on the day of the concert. For group rates, call 312-294-3040.

Artists, programs and prices are subject to change.


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