One True Vine

Album: One True Vine (2013)

Songfacts®:

  • This is the title track of Mavis Staples' 13th studio album, the second on which she collaborated with record producer and Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy. The album was recorded at the Wilco Loft in Chicago, the city where Mavis was born and where she began singing with her family in 1950 at the age of 11.
  • Tweedy played every instrument on One True Vine except drums, which were helmed by his 17-year-old son, Spencer.
  • Mavis Staples continues to mature like a fine wine, and shortly before turning 74, she achieved her highest charting solo album on the Billboard 200 when One True Vine debuted at #67.
  • This is one of three tracks on One True Vine that was penned by Tweedy. Staples recalled to The Music.com regarding this song: "'One True Vine'… I said 'Tweedy, how do you write these songs? How do these lyrics come to you?' I tell you, it's just awesome. You can't just jump on a Jeff Tweedy song and start singing, you have to look at it and figure out what he's talking about. But I don't want to ask him what he's talking about, I want to figure it out myself."
  • The song title is a reference to Jesus' statement in the Gospel of John 15 v 1 where God's Son compares himself to a grapevine and his Father to the gardener. Christ went on to explain that the vine's branches are his followers, some of which, by their living union with him produce much fruit. However, Jesus warns that the Divine Gardener will cut out the shoots who turn back from following Him and produce little fruit. The discarded branches will wither away, be thrown into the fire and burned.

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