On Saturday 7th February The Staves returned to The Queen’s Hall, promoting their new album “If I Was,” out on 23rd March – which seems a bit daft, but it was meant to have been out before the tour, last week in fact. Atlantic Records delayed the release in what seems a truly anachronistic move; really, nowadays, who cares about chart positions or avoiding the competition? Are The Staves really needing to avoid a clash with Ed Sheeran or the next Taylor Swift single? If they’d had the album at the show on Saturday, they would have sold buckets, but when you get to a certain level in that game, that’s way too simple. Or maybe Warners are seeing The Staves as the new Corrs (and, to be fair, they cleaned up with The Corrs…)
Yada yada, what do I know..?
Anyway, the last time I saw The Staves was October 2013 and in the interim they’ve made the afore-mentioned album, toured a lot and released the “Blood I Bled” EP.
“Blood I Bled” came out at the end of last year, has three tracks (only one of which is on the new album) and is wildly impressive.
I approached with care; having quickly learned to love the “Dead & Born & Grown” album, I was a wee bit scared that the greatness of The Staves had been bolstered by the production and mixing skills of Ethan Johns and his dad, who had worked together on most of the album.
It’s OK, nothing to worry about. All three tracks on “Blood I Bled” were produced by The Staves and are great. The track from the forthcoming album was recorded with Justin Vernon, who has worked with Bon Iver, which is supposed to be a good thing…best of the three is the only one they didn’t play on Saturday, “America,” where they seem to get Joseph Heller and George Thorogood name-checked in the same lyric.
Anyway, the show on Saturday was even better than the last one in 2013. A lot better attended. The act has tightened up a lot, Emmylou Stave has become Cruella de Stave and they’re still super-posh. Love ’em.