The Staves eager to build U.S. fan base
BY TRICIA DESPRES May 22, 2013 7:38AM
The British folk trio the Staves headline Schubas on May 28. | Rebecca Miller photo
♦ 8 p.m. May 28
♦ Schubas, 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago
♦ Tickets, $14
♦ (773) 525-2508;
Updated: June 25, 2013 6:12AM
Making their first visit to Chicago, up-and-coming folk trio the Staves aren’t asking for much.
Deliver the three gorgeous girls some Chicago-style pizza and show them where they can find the best vintage dress shops in the city, and they should feel quite at home — even though that home is 3,943 miles away.
“We love coming to the States,” said Camilla Staveley-Taylor, the youngest member of the Staves, who will perform at Schubas May 28.
“Sandwiched somewhere between traveling and performing, we love to see the sights in each city. I especially love meeting all of the different musicians and learn how they got to where they are today. I love to hear all of their stories.”
Hailing from the quaint town of Watford, England, the sister act made up of Camilla, Emily and Jessica, is in the midst of headlining a 25-date, North American debut tour.
In a loud and increasingly distractive world, the Staves are looking to bring simple three-part harmony back to the forefront of music.
While most artists seem overly enthusiastic to tell the story of their musical upbringing, the Staves opt for a morelaid-back, unassuming approach.
“We grew up with music and just always found ourselves singing around the house,” said Camilla, who recalls the melodies of artists such as Simon & Garfunkel, Buffalo Springfield and Motown filling the home.
“I basically copied what my older sisters were doing. [Laughs] But yes, becoming an actual group was definitely a gradual process.”
In a few years, the Staves have established a dedicated fan base, mostly materializing via open mike nights in their English hometown.
Earning the praise of a certain Sir Tom Jones (the Staves appeared on his 2010 album “Praise & Blame”) also helped in raising the musical radar.
“There was a point when I was about to go to university, and instead, the three of us decided that we would give it a year and try to see if we could make it in music,” Camilla said.
“To be honest, I knew we always would end up together even if that meant we were just doing something like opening a cafe together.”
Following the life-changing decision, the girls embarked on a flurry of performances, grabbing their first big American break when they were asked to perform alongside the Civil Wars in January 2012.
They followed with high-profile performances at South by Southwest and an opening spot on the Bon Iver tour.
“We have been very lucky to have the audiences that we have been able to play for,” Camilla said. (The group’s debut album “Dead & Born & Grown” dropped March 19.)
“Fans of groups such as Bon Iver are up to hear new music and they truly care about lyrics and songwriting. I guess you could say we have been somewhat spoiled.”
Songwriting on this trip through North America has been difficult. “We haven’t quite mastered the art of writing on the road yet,” Camilla said. “I guess I’m just not in the right head space to do it.”
While Camilla admitted that the group’s members rarely look to their collective future, she said they are enthusiastic to where this tour might take them.
“Whatever happens, it’s going to be a balancing act,” she said.
“We all have in our mind what we hope will happen, but I feel as if things will go as they will. We just hope we can keep doing what we love doing, which is music.”
Tricia Despres is a local freelance writer.