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The Staves perform in the Forum at The Current

The Staves perform in The Forum at MPR.
The Staves perform in The Forum at MPR.MPR photo/Nate Ryan
  Play Now [32:13]

by Bill DeVille and The Staves

July 31, 2016

The Staves - Outlaw (Live in the Forum at The Current)
by MPR
The Staves - Sleeping in a Car (Live in the Forum at The Current)
by MPR
The Staves - Roses (Live in the Forum at The Current)
by MPR
The Staves - Damn It All (Live in the Forum at The Current)
by MPR

The Staves may be from Watford, England, but they've spent a lot of time in and around Eau Claire, Wis., lately. "I think that we like the vibe of the people — and Minnesota as well — everyone is really solid and nice, which is maybe a cliché, I don't know, but it's literally true in my experience," Jessica Staveley-Taylor says. "But we definitely don't fit in because as soon as we start speaking, people are like, 'Where are you from and what are you doing here?'"

The short answer is, "Working hard." The Staves — a trio comprising sisters Jessica, Emily and Camilla Staveley-Taylor — have been spending a lot of time in the middle of North America, most recently at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, as well as at Justin Vernon's April Base studio in western Wisconsin. Amid those activities, the Staves, along with Wisconsinite drummer Dave Power, took time to perform a set of songs in the Forum at Minnesota Public Radio and to chat with The Current's Bill DeVille.

The Staves' most recent EP is a three-song release, Sleeping in a Car, produced by Vernon and recorded at April Base. "Working with Justin's great," Camilla says. "For one, he's incredibly talented, so has great ideas. Almost more than that, he has a very pure love of music, and I think that's mirrored in how he works with people and how he collaborates with people. There's no ego there. It's about him being passionate about wanting you to get the most out of this experience."

The title track, "Sleeping in a Car," was informed by the Staves' time spent away from home. Camilla insists the song is not about a musician bemoaning a life on the road, but more about the way a music career affects one's life and perceptions. "We're incredibly privileged, really, to do what we do and we love it," she says. "It's just a really strange life choice that we didn't realize we were making when we just followed making music. But then it does become your way of life and you end up not having the things that sane people have around them to keep sane. … sometimes you feel like you've lost your sense of self a bit, and it's kind of weird."

Perhaps setting up a home from home in Wisconsin can help them feel more grounded. They'll be back in that community in mid-August, when they'll perform once again at the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival. Thinking back to last year's performance at Eaux Claires, Camilla says, "It was a really nice surprise for us playing that festival because we weren't' really sure people had heard of us in that neck of the woods, really, or if we'd have any sort of audience there watching us, and it was a really lovely turnout. That festival in general was just very, very fun."

Use the audio player above to hear more from the Staves, including the story of how the Staveley-Taylors began performing together, how their parents influenced their music, and what their first experience was like taking part in the Winnipeg Folk Festival.

Songs Performed

"Sleeping in a Car"
"Damn It All"

The first three songs are from the Staves' 2016 EP, Sleeping in a Car; "Damn It All" is from the Staves' 2014 album, If I Was; both releases are available on Nonesuch Records.

Hosted by Bill DeVille
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Michael DeMark, Erik Stromstad, Andrew Broussard and Brandon Eich
Visuals by Nate Ryan and Leah Garaas
Web feature by Luke Taylor