Mavis Staples, Patty Griffin, Amy Helm in Beaver Creek Friday |

Mavis Staples, Patty Griffin, Amy Helm in Beaver Creek Friday

American music legend Mavis Staples will be in the Vilar Performing Arts Center tonight, along with Patty Griffin and Amy Helm, for their Sweet Harmony Soul tour.
Chris Strong Photography | Special to the Daily | Chris Strong Photography

If You Go

What: Sweet Harmony Soul featuring Mavis Staples, Patty Griffin & Amy Helm

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center (VPAC) in Beaver Creek

When: Friday, today 8 p.m.

Tickets: $68 on sale now

Information: 970-748-8497 or

Mavis Staples in an American treasure.

Grammy-winning folk legend Patty Griffin and singer-songwriter Amy Helm are great, too, and they’ll all be in the Vilar Performing Arts Center for Sweet Soul Harmony Friday night.

Griffin is a guitar goddess with a voice as smooth and warm as a summer evening.

Helm is a bundle of beautiful hyperactivity with perfect pitch; she’s the beloved offspring of Levon Helm, the driving force behind The Band.

Staples, 76, is a civil rights champion, music pioneer, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, and of course, a national treasure.

“They can sing for such tiny little girls,” Staples said from a stage in Minnesota, during a performance earlier this week. “I used to be that size loooooooong ago.”

Trifecta of talent

If you’ve been a cloistered monk, you don’t know that Staples is a gospel powerhouse who started her career with groups like the Dixie Hummingbirds and Soul Stirrers.

The head of the clan, Pops Staples, led the family singers in a transition from strict gospel to ‘60s rock.

Staples still nimbly walks rock and gospel music. On the other hand, she exists outside any genre, yet weaves herself into the musical fabric of soul, R&B, jazz, gospel, rock and blues.

Griffin’s latest album, “American Kid,” is steeped in Americana and so is she. She lives in Austin, Texas. She earned her first Grammy for “DownTown Church,” and ended up playing Band of Joy, Robert Plant’s project that melds British and American folk, rock and spiritual music.

Helm just released “Didn’t It Rain,” her first album under her own name, but she has been making music most of her life. She learned from the best. Her father, musical icon Levon Helm, passed away in 2012.

“He was the best teacher, in so many ways,” Amy said of her father. “He wasn’t interested in overthinking anything; all he cared about was playing music. He saw himself as a working musician, and it was serious business and it had to be right. Playing side by side with him in the Ramble band for 10 years, and building those shows with him, really changed the way I approached things, and his humility influenced and shaped me as a musician, as it did everyone who played with him.”

About this tour

“This tour is inspiring,” Helm said. “Patty Griffin brings me to tears every night with her soulful, beautiful voice.”

The tour rolls through 12 cities, most them wonderful. They were in Minnesota earlier this week; they’re in Beaver Creek tonight and Arvada Saturday.

“Music in the Zoo (in Minnesota) was wicked hot,” Helm said. “We watched Mavis Staples battle the bugs and the heat and still deliver a rousing and incredible show!”

So far, Sweet Harmony Soul showcases the three giants’ individual talents. Helm generally opens the evening.

There were 50 minutes from Staples at that Minnesota show, 50 minutes from Griffin, and 25 minutes from Helm.

Staples and Griffin recorded “Waiting for My Child To Come Home” in 2009, so you might see that.

How much time they’ll spend on the Vilar stage individually, and how much together, is something you’ll learn for yourself at the show.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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