The Staves @ The Louisiana – Live Review

The Staves

The Staves played Start The Bus last year which I unfortunately had to miss at the last minute. I imagine it was not a great venue for them so this time around, it was The Louisiana for part two of a weekend of folk there (part one on Saturday was Laura Gibson – review here).

Support for this second leg of The Louie’s weekend of folk came from Christof, originally from Holland but with an accent and a set of songs that showed the influence of the time he’s spent more recently living in Ireland. Tonight he was going solo with a combination of folk guitar (packed full of hammer-ons!) and the occasional harmonica fill. Check him out at and here’s a video of him playing in Galway back in 2010 (with additional vocals from some familiar looking girls).

On to the main act, The Staves, a trio of sisters whose appropriately musical name is derived from their surname (Stavely-Taylor) and who have been honing their three-part harmonies since their youth together to produce a sound that is rooted in the folk songs of yesteryear.

Though all three Staves picked up an instrument through the set, their music is really all about their voices, and what voices they are – a beautiful sound when singing the same part but then they diverge into their harmonies and then they produce a sound that will cause your heart to stop and then melt! A listen is worth far more than my descriptions in this case, so here are some SoundClouds before I go any further…

The Staves – Mexico EP by The Staves

Live at Cecil Sharp House – Free EP by The Staves

With only two EPs under their belt (though a third will be released at the end of April), they are still in their early days as a touring group and perhaps lack the range of material that will come as they develop but that’s not to say that the songs they have written so far are in any way bad, but that when they end of their set with a cover of Sufjan Stevens’ beautiful song Chicago, it’s apparent that when they apply themselves to songs that can match their sublime vocal talents, they found a whole new level of beauty that perhaps left a number of us in The Louisiana’s audience slightly broken, but slightly in love.

A truly exceptional set then from this talented family trio. I hope they come back soon and personally I hope they’ll be playing St Georges where the wonderful acoustics of the building and a few more developed songs would make for something very special indeed.

The Staves cover of Chicago by Sufjan Stevens