I first heard The Staves on the inter web radio about a year ago, but after hearing them again today, have been using the wonder of spotify to hear more of them.
Many years ago, in a previous life, I was a DJ/newsreader on the local student radio RDU (for about 4 years) and after a couple of years I took over the running of the radio’s women’s show. I was always on the lookout for new talent for the women’s show, but to be fair, at the time I was largely influenced by male music. Back then, in the 90s, to qualify for the show, female vocals were sufficient – so we often played, for example, Sonic Youth – if Kim Gordon was on vocals. That was because it sometimes seemed that the music industry was awash with males. Of course there was always Michelle Shocked and Sinead O’Connor to thrash out… singer songwriters. But great FULLY female music was difficult to come by. I did discover some brilliant women in my years of firstly DJing on the women’s show roster, and then running it. I had the joy of interviewing Shara Nelson (vocals from the amazing “Unfinished Symphony” that Massive Attack produced). Being a Billy Bragg fan meant that Michelle Shocked was an easy choice to follow. My cousin and I sang a lot of Indigo Girls tracks (we had similar vocals, both play guitar and could do the harmonies!).
However if you asked me who was a great female artist, I would still struggle. I love Kate Bush and also Eartha Kitt (okay, so I have eclectic tastes, blame my parents!) I also liked Luscious Jackson, Hole and Belly. In recent years Nina Pearsson and Lisa Hannigan join the ranks and I ADORE Emile Sande. I’m a kiwi – so yes, I do like Lorde, a lot. But by and large, if you were to look at my CD collection, which is on the slightly large side due to years of radio, you would find mainly blokes. If I were honest, I would confess nothing stirs my soul more than an amazing male choir. So I usually think I’m on to something special when I discover a women’s group that actually makes me go more than listening to a song. The Staves are it at the moment. Yes, slightly country (I prefer to term it “folk” – I know it’s a fine line!). However, lovely melodies, great harmonies and sweet voices. So, enjoy The Staves” “Mexico”.