Dead & Born & Grown
The Staves are a three-piece female folk trio from England. But American influences—from gothic Appalachian folk to '70s West Coast hippie rock— clearly shape their music. Hinting occasionally at the dark, slightly dour tones of Peggy Sue and Wye Oak, these three young sisters (Emily, Jessica, and Camilla Staveley-Taylor) soften things with a faint promise of bluebirds and sunny meadows, as opposed to the croaking ravens and creaky homesteads Peggy Sue and Wye Oak explore. With heavenly, delicate harmonies and stripped-down instrumentation, they tell vivid stories with evocative lyrics and imaginative arrangements; strummed ukulele notes flitter around a softly billowing organ, while two minutes of a cappella gold give way to a startling, propulsive handclap-footstomp hootenanny. Jessica's guitar playing serves up gentle jangles and fleet fingerwork, and the airy, crystalline production lets the sisters' magical vocals really breathe and shine. It's produced by the father-and-son team of Glyn and Ethan Johns, who together have produced artists ranging from The Beatles and Bob Dylan to Rufus Wainwright and Ryan Adams.