Fresh from their mammoth tours with Bon Iver, which saw the three Staveley-Taylor sisters – Emily, Jessica and Camilla – support the genius Wisconsin band in huge arenas across the UK, Europe and US, The Staves recently embarked on their own sold-out tour across our fair isles.
What is somewhat unbelievable however, is that all this has come at a time when they have only just released their debut album, less than three weeks ago. Yet the hype surrounding this set of sisters, is justly deserved. The record, titled Dead & Born & Grown, is a stunning collection of beautifully crafted songs, featuring a host of bewitching lyrics, neatly-plucked guitars and ukulele, the occasional, well-placed drumbeat, and some of the most angelic harmonies man is ever likely to hear. It comes as no surprise that Justin Vernon was eager to have them join him on his band’s travels.
Nonetheless, the question that had to be asked, was whether their superb talents could be transferred to the live stage? On Tuesday, the three sisters rolled into Manchester, accompanied by rising star Luke Sital-Singh as support. Another London-based singer-songwriter he may be, but Sital-Singh seems a cut above the rest. Tipped to be the UK’s answer to Justin Vernon, and with his debut EP Fail For You receiving rave reviews, he seemed genuinely taken-aback by the crowd’s reaction to his wonderful set. Yet he deserved all the praise, and respective silence, he received. His effortless and captivating, tremulous voice ducked and dived as he presented his forlorn yet passionate words, all the while plucking carefully at his acoustic guitar. The future looks particularly bright for this young artist.
The three Staves sisters then took to the Ruby Lounge stage, backed by drummer and bass guitarist who had not been present for much of the Bon Iver tour. They were, however, welcomed additions and gave the performance an extra lick of atmosphere to the more sprightly of tracks, such as The Motherlode and recent-single Tongue Behind My Teeth.
Each sister took the lead on at least one song, yet it was when the trio’s harmonies were at the forefront of their performance, that The Staves proved that they are equally flawless live, as on the record. And flawless really is the only way to describe their voices…be it when performing the utterly gorgeous Facing West, the beautiful Mexico or the wonderful Wisely And Slow, which caused social network sites to go mad with praise when they performed the track live last week on ‘Later…With Jools Holland’.
It was a set brimming with beauty and joy, as well as a number of laughs, led by the girls (rather than the one moron in the crowd…there’s always one…stood right behind us on this occasion!) which proved that the three sisters have a great deal of character as well as talent.
Having disappeared off-stage for a brief moment, The Staves returned for a two-song encore, ending with the majestic Winter Trees. Perhaps not the most notable track on the album, but if ever there was a song to display their musical mastery, unimpeachable harmonies and gifted song-writing, then this is it. With a pulsating crescendo, proving the worth of their bassist and drummer being on stage, The Staves ended what was a sublime and delightful show, that won’t be forgotten for a long, long time.