The Staves

Dead & Born & Grown & Live

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Dead & Born & Grown, the debut album from Watford, England-based sisters Emily, Jessica, and Camilla Staveley-Taylor, arrives on the heels of their well-received EPs Mexico and The Motherlode. The trio's first full-length outing, which was produced by Glyn and Ethan Johns and includes material from both of the aforementioned EPs, pairs the evocative British folk of Laura Marling and Sandy Denny with the rustic Americana of the Wailin' Jennys and Gillian Welch. Dead & Born & Grown leans harder on the latter, and if the siblings’ measured yet undeniably English phrasing weren’t so apparent, it would be easy to mistake them for Gram Parsons/Joni Mitchell-loving, Laurel Canyon songbirds instead of pub-bred, early-twentysomething lasses from the home counties. Opener "Wisely & Slow" sets the table with a nearly two-minute, a cappella intro that shows off the siblings' considerable pipes. What follows is a relatively calm, collected, and breezy set of 21st century folk songs that prefers subtlety over novelty; the leaf-strewn, babbling brook to Mumford & Sons' relentlessly stormy ocean. Clear, confident, and classy, the Staves (along with their producers) know that their ability to harmonize (or just sing in perfect, familial unison) is their calling card, and the instrumentation is calibrated according to that knowledge, allowing their vocals to sit fairly high in the mix, which gives stand-out cuts like "Winter Trees," "The Motherlode," and the lovely, and surprisingly timeless-sounding title track, a genuine warmth, as well as an air of real intimacy that stands in stark contrast to many of their contemporaries.

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