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HEAR WHAT’S NEW: Benjamin Booker ft. Mavis Staples – Witness

HEAR WHAT’S NEW: Benjamin Booker ft. Mavis Staples – Witness

“Witness” is the title track from the follow-up to Booker’s explosive 2014 debut. The New Orleans-based songwriter — who’s favored a sound like the blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll mixed with gasoline and a lit cigarette — leans into more explicitly gospel territory here, letting his strepitous guitar take a backseat to an upright-piano melody and choral harmonies. Booker mourns violence against black bodies and hints at the insidious consequences of bearing false witness: “Thought that we saw that he had a gun / Thought that it looked like he started to run.” Meanwhile, Mavis Staples sings the song’s chorus, lending her typical moral urgency to its central question: “Am I going to be a witness … just going to be a witness?”