Family's important when it comes to the Staves. Not only are the band comprised of sisters – that's Emily (29), Jessica (25), and Camilla (23) – but their debut album was produced by an unlikely double act: the father-and-son production duo of Glyn and Ethan Johns. The first, of course, boasts a CV that reads likes a Who's Who of classic rock music and includes everyone from the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin downward. The latter's worked with Kings of Leon, Ryan Adams, and Laura Marling, while also a recording artist himself. The pair both caught Watford trio the Staves independently of each other and offered to produce them before throwing in their lot together to work on the band's debut, Dead & Born & Grown.
The fact that the sisters enjoyed a previous career as actors, and that this Johns père-et-fils outing was released on Atlantic Records in November could easily have you believing that the Staves are little more than yet another well-manicured, opportunist, post-Mumfords pop-folk outfit. Nothing could be further from the truth. Polite they may be, but the 12 tracks that make up the album remain warm and enthralling without ever sounding overglossed. If anything, there's a sensitive, unadorned quality about the album that allows the sisters' West Coast-influenced, three-part harmonies to shine through on material such as opener "Wisely & Slow," the evocative "Winter Trees," and the smoldering "Pay Us No Mind," resplendent with a bruising, sense-jolting expletive.
In fact, Glyn and Ethan have perfectly captured the live charm of the Staveley-Taylor sisters on this debut, the threesome developing a reputation for silencing audiences during tours opening for Bon Iver and the Civil Wars. Soliciting comparisons to Sandy Denny, Joni Mitchell, and First Aid Kit, you sense the Staves will soon be sharing genuinely exalted company. Along with kindred spirits Michael Kiwanuka and Laura Mvula, they represent the next generation of talented British songwriters, eschewing the spoils of pop success in favor of genuine songcraft and a fulfilling career in music. Prepare to succumb to their charms during the course of their second visit to SXSW.
Hawk Eyes, 1am, BD Riley's
Jamie N Commons, 8pm, Buffalo Billiards
Little Barrie, 1am, 512
Mary Epworth , 7:30pm, Victoria Room at the Driskill
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