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Staves - Good Woman

  by Zena Grieg

published: 8 / 3 / 2021

Staves - Good Woman
Label: Atlantic
Format: CD


Resilient and emotive first album in five years from Watford-based folk-pop sister trio The Staves

‘Good Woman’, the first album in five years by The Staves, folk-pop singer-songwriter sisters from Watford, Emily, Jessica and Camilla Stavely-Taylor, has just been released. Their third album is one characterised by emotion – the Staves recently lost their grandmother and their mother Jean, while Emily had a baby daughter and Camilla’s long-term relationship with her American boyfriend ended. Following a stay in the USA performing with Bruce Hornsby and Justin Vernon from Bon Iver, The Staves are now working with a new collaborator, producer and Grammy Winner John Congleton. The Staves have retained their sibling harmonies, but these are now enhanced by a bolder sound. Speaking about the new album, coming after their mother’s death, Emily said: “You find strength in the vulnerability and you find beauty in the sadness and magic in the despair. We lost so much, but we found so much. And while the album is not all about mum, something shifted in us when she died that made us make the record in the way we that we made it. We became more fearless.” This new resilience is very apparent in the twelve tracks, detailing joys and sorrows, love and loss. It starts with the title track opener, its lyrics challenging conventional views of being a woman – “I cover my mouth and straighten my back” - and closing -assertively: “But who will build statues of me when I leave you all behind?” Highlights include the cello and brass-infused ballad ‘Nothing’s Gonna Happen’. The gentle reflective ‘Sparks’, a song in memory of their mother; ‘Paralysed’ with stripped-back ukulele and poignant lyrics: “And now I know it’s a waste of time/And I know you are yours, not mine/And I know I’m being left behind”; ‘Devotion’ with its resigned and wry lyrics: “And it’s happening again/And it’s happening again/Devotion be the death of me”; and ‘Waiting On Me to Change’ with its defiant message about being your own person in the face of another’s expectations: “I’ll change, I’ll change, I’ll change when I want to.” Vulnerability and anger alternate, but ultimately resilience marks this collection - and self-belief. In Jessica’s words: “It’s a record about sisterhood, motherhood and daughterhood"; love, loss, change and trying to be a good person, a good woman.” Having spent the past decade gently pushing the musical boundaries of folk, in ‘Good Woman’ the Staves have forged an earthier sound that is soulful and forward-looking, taking them into a new musical landscape.

Track Listing:-
1 Good Woman
2 Best Friend
3 Careful, Kid
4 Next Year, Next Time
5 Nothing’s Gonna Happen

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