The Staves – the sisterly folk rock band

With folk bands usually consisting of heavily-bearded men wearing tatty shirts, it’s a breath of fresh air when you meet the sisterly folk band that will admit they wear their dad’s t-shirts, whilst singing beautiful harmonies and playing the ukulele and guitar.

The Staves are a group of sisters who harmonise to folk rock sounds. Photo: Atlantic Records
The Staves are a group of sisters who harmonise to folk rock sounds. Photo: Atlantic Records

Meet Watford girl folk singers, The Staves – the triplet that harmonise to folk rock sounds. The band has already played tours alongside Bon Iver and performed on “Later…with Jools Holland.”

The eldest sister, Emily Staveley-Taylor said: “It’s been brilliant; we toured with Bon Iver in the States so it was so nice to be asked back. We haven’t done a European tour before so we got to go to a load of places we’d never been to.

“It was so much fun as they’re such funny lads. Watching their set and travelling with them is inspiring. They really are different-league good.”

The sisters are currently on their headlining UK and Ireland tour, which started on November 18th in Bristol.

Staveley-Taylor expressed her delight: “It feels really good. It’s amazing to play different places and be on tour with other people because you learn so much from them, but to play to your own crowd that’s the most exciting thing.”

The tour has also given the folk band the chance to design their own band t-shirts, which were inspired by their love of their dad’s t-shirts and postcards. Staveley-Taylor explained: “We all wear dad’s clothes and blokes t-shirt are always so much better than girls!

“We wanted some crappy postcard design because, when we travel, we try and buy the worst postcards we can find. A friend sketched a picture of our shopping centre, The Harlequin, we coloured it in neon colours and then put ‘Greetings from Watford, home of The Staves’ in that classic postcard writing. Hopefully it will be a cool t-shirt before anyone realises it’s a Staves t-shirt.”

The Watford girls released several EPs and recent single “Tough Behind My Teeth,” before their debut album, “Dead, Born and Grown” in November. According to Emily, the experience has been a strange and exciting one: “It feels really strange to have an album out.

“We got to play in the Rough Trade East shop in London and saw someone buy our record and leave the shop with it. It feels really nice to have it out there and I hope some people will really like it and something will speak to them.”

She continued: “As with a lot of first albums, it’s a collection of songs from some of the earliest that we’ve written to some of the most recent. It’s kind of an introduction to us musically, where we’ve come from and where we are now. Some songs are quite personal and some are stories about other people.”

Emily explained that her favourite song on the album changes a lot, however, “Snow” is a firm favourite: “It has a bed of lots of guitars, and hums and ahs and there’s something kind of comforting about it.”

The three sisters started singing and recording their own music when their dad taught Jessica to play guitar, who, along with their equally musical mother, gave the girls a positive attitude to music. Staveley-Taylor said: “They both played a bit of guitar and piano and have really nice singing voices.

“Their friends would come round and everyone would get their guitars out and have a sing song. So I think they taught us to love music as it’s good fun and a really good way of socialising.”

However, it was watching their friends play that really inspired the Watford girls to take on song-writing and singing permanently. She explained: “We’d go and see them play and we always thought that it looked so much fun. We didn’t really decide to form a band but our friends would say we should do an open mic night.

Staveley-Taylor continued: “We’d do that at our local pub then it turned into full sets and then we’d do it again.”

With such an eventful start to their music careers, including an appearance on Later…with Jools Holland on November 6th, Emily says their performance at Red Rocks in Colorado is still her fondest: “The bill was us then Feist and then Bon Iver. It’s an incredible place; it’s like a natural amphitheatre with huge red rocks. It’s mental!”

But, according to Staveley-Taylor, none of their success would have been possible without the support of their fans: “We put a thank you in the album to everyone who has told their friends about us and dragged someone along to a gig. It’s really due to good people like that we have anyone that comes to our gigs so it’s hugely appreciated.”

To find out more about The Staves, their music and their upcoming events visit their official website.

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