For his 2006 platinum release, Duets: An American Classic, 80-year-old Tony Bennett reached new ears by singing with Tim McGraw, Bono, John Legend, Michael Buble and more.
Legendary gospel/R&B singer Mavis Staples also tapped an unlikely source to help with her latest album, You Are Not Alone (Anti, September 2010): Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. With Tweedy as producer, Staples not only gave her longtime fans a new record to listen to but also introduced her uniquely gutsy, powerful voice to a whole slew of indie-rock lovers.
You Are Not Alone is in some ways a retrospective of Staples' work. But with Tweedy at the helm, even previously recorded songs sound new. Tweedy's guitar-strumming sensibilities give them a rich quality and sound not so easily dropped into either a gospel or an indie-rock box.
And then the duo guaranteed themselves a spot on the cool kids' list by appearing together on shows like "The Colbert Report" and "Late Night with David Letterman."