Merry Clayton — the famed gospel singer who features on songs like the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” — has announced her new album Beautiful Scars, due out April 9th on Motown Gospel.
The singer’s new LP, co-produced by Lou Adler and Terry Young, features a mix of classic covers — a new version of Leon Russell’s “A Song for You,” which Clayton originally covered in 1971, plus the “Ooh Child Medley” — alongside new compositions penned by Coldplay’s Chris Martin (“Love Is a Mighty River,” featuring Martin on piano and vocals) and songwriter Diane Warren (the title track “Beautiful Scars”).
The album was born out of Clayton’s recovery from a devastating car accident in 2014 — which occurred soon after the film 20 Feet From Stardom, which featured Clayton, won Best Documentary at the Oscars — where the singer lost both of her legs, requiring a five-month hospital stay and years of rehabilitation. During that time, Clayton discussed recording a new album about perseverance and finding strength through gospel with Adler.
“I’ve been through the fire and the rain, but I made it through,” Clayton said in a statement. “I want people to know that there is healing and deliverance through anything. But you’ve got to trust God — put yourself in His hands.”
Clayton’s new take on “A Song for You” also features a vintage solo recording by her late husband, the saxophonist Curtis Amy, who died in 2002, while the closing “Ooh Child Medley” boasts a vocal accompaniment from her granddaughter Kyliyah.
Beautiful Scars Track List
A Song for You
Touch the Hem of His Garment
Love Is a Mighty River
God Is Love
Room at the Altar
He Made a Way
Oh What a Friend
Ooh Child Medley
From Rolling Stone US