The Staves – Good Woman: Album Review

Good Woman is an album of heartfelt emotions, experimental vocalisations and music  from The Staves, the well-respected British trio of talented sisters.

Release date:  5th February 2021

Label: Atlantic

Format:  CD / Vinyl / Digital

Not only are we blessed with highly talented female singers bringing some gender balance to the folk genre (see Maz O’Connor, Harri Endersby) but we have groups like Wildwood Kin and Magpies. We now have this new release brought to our attention. Although by no means new to the folk scene, The Staves are sisters who already have built up a reputation nationally and internationally.

Hailing from Watford, this gentle Folk-Rock trio has featured on film, on Later With Jools Holland, worked with Tom Jones, Paul Weller and posthumously Leonard Cohen,  had music produced by Glyn Johns, toured America and was pencilled into last years cancelled Glastonbury Festival.

With three studio albums under their belt they now release Good Woman that also coincides with a live stream on February 5th. (You can buy tickets here).

Their songs reflect a roller coaster of personal emotions and family experiences.  The catchy opening title track immediately displays the close family harmony that runs through the album as well as the vocal one.

The vocals on Best Friend And Careful Kid are much more than just pleasant well arranged vocals but also quite acrobatic. They can mix heavy stomping beats with bouncy dancing rhythms too.  Next Year, Next Time is  just as upbeat, hinting at the hope that things can get better.

The feeling of desperation, frustration  and being powerless is a common condition these days and this is musically and vocally expressed in Paralysed. Issues of isolation and loss are also expressed but it would be wrong just consider these songs as just beautiful melodies superbly vocalised by Emily, Jessic and Camilla.  Their experimental vocalisations and musical accompaniment are a joy to listen to and it is exciting to experience these pioneering efforts in the folk genre. The variety of ideas packed into the two and a quarter minutes of Trying is astounding. 

Fortunately, the folk music audience has a more finely attuned discerning ear these days than it had in the early years of Fairport Convention when their revolutionary Leige And Leif was first heard and we all know how much that is revered now. Good Woman is instantly enjoyable but it will get even better on further listens as you explore each track.

To add to their vocal and instrumental talents the album is mostly self-produced with some assistance from John Congleton.

Also search for the recently released track, Nazareth (not found on the album) which accompanied  Trying. These two tracks marked the band’s first new music since their collaborative EP with the New York-based chamber ensemble yMusic back in 2017. 

Listen to the album’s title track here:

The Staves have recently relaunched their podcast. ‘Dial-A-Stave’ is an irreverent, fly-on-the-wall listen to the band’s everyday conversations with one another. You can subscribe here.

The Staves online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube

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