The Staves’s new album

I haven’t heard much from the Staves lately, though I used to post their music when I found it online. It turns out they’ve been on tour, but they’ve also been making a new album, “If I Was” (a line from their wonderful song, “Blood I Bled”). The album is now out, and here’s a mini-documentary about its production.

The Staves comprise three sisters from England (real name Stavely-Taylor), and produce a big but delicate sound with fantastic harmonies. I’ll put up the album’s title song, which I’ve posted before; it’s still my favorite Staves song. This is a live version from Dublin:



  1. Posted February 27, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Good stuff! They remind me of Fairport Convention from the late 60s though they were more instrumental. Hear for example.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      Yes. Sandy Denny [RIP] – a pity she never found her thing post-FC. Not enough strong self-penned songs – I especially liked her The North Star Grassman and the Ravens

  2. Michael Fisher
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    If I Was is three years old. The ‘new’ album is The Way Is Read [Nov 2017] which is sonically utterly different , being a collab with yMusic [a New York chamber ensemble]. Here’s my favourite track from ‘…Read’ – it’s the title track which finds interesting ways of using strings to emulate percussion, ‘attack’ & bass which the Staves need to add depth to their harmonies:

    Altogether pleasantly dissonant like a modern Stravinsky, Rite of Spring

    Regarding If I Was :- Good album, but needed to be more aggressive in the percussion dept. the drummer was underused

    Great trio who need to take more risks!

    • rickflick
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      I like your analysis. I’ve loved the Staves ever since I met them on WEIT, but I always had a sense they needed a great producer to push them to their potential. The Way Is Read is definitely a step on that road.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted February 27, 2018 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        Good points! They need a George Martin & some good drugs to free their lyrics, which are pedestrian & far too literal most of the time. The great artistes & bands have all made some stinkers, which is inevitable, it happens on ‘the edge’ – none of The Staves stuff is bad enough.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted February 27, 2018 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        Also they need to free their main instruments [their voices] from the trap of aiming for harmony & resolution.

        Shouts, screams, snarls & animalistic sexuberance required a la Patti Smith, MC5, James Jewel Osterburg [pre-Bowie] & first album PJ Harvey. Plus Revolution 9 for salt & pepper flavours.

        • rickflick
          Posted February 27, 2018 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

          Well, in fairness, they come from a folksy background and are just now moving past it. Give them another album or two. I hope they never lose their harmony or their intimate quality. It’s such a choice feature that’s the magic of sisters. How you get there from here is what makes every performer unique.

    • rickflick
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      I hear a bit of Philip Glass and Steve Reich in there.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted February 27, 2018 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        Agreed & Miles Davis [or rather Davis’ producer, arranger, genius cutter up of tape: Teo Macero, Bitches Brew era]

        Read this Steve Reich thing

        • rickflick
          Posted February 27, 2018 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

          He mentions that he was influenced by Radiohead, which makes sense in retrospect. I had never thought of it before. I guess Reich and Greenwood collaborated. I’m sure you’re an Radiohead fan.
          Here’s a cover of “Once in A Lifetime”, by Josh Turner I think you might enjoy.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted February 27, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

            I have 7 hrs 45 mins & 2 secs of lossless Radiohead** – so yes 🙂

            ** excludes what I have of them as individual members’ solo projects

            I’ll check out the track later & report back – on a tinny mobe now

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted March 1, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

            V. nice. More Cowbell!

            David Byrne: great lyricist, but horrible human. Here’s the marvellous Tina & hubby enjoying a Byrne parody act:

            • rickflick
              Posted March 1, 2018 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

              Ha! Cute.

  3. Billywindsock
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    I like the new music too. It is interesting. It is experimental without being difficult to listen to. Reminds me of listening to Kate Bush, but with more harmony.

  4. Vaal
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful stuff.

    Their talent reminds me of the Wilson Sisters (Heart).

    I’m gonna git me some of their music!

    But where to start?

  5. Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    If you like the Staves, then you should not miss the Wailin’ Jennys from Canada.

    A similar group with tremendous harmonies and, in my opinion, better songs and vocals. More of a North America vibe than the Staves (who sound more English folk to me).

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