Skip directly to content

If I Was

  • 548238

Track Listing

News & Reviews

  • The English trio The Staves offer their contribution to the holiday-song canon with the just-released new song, "Home Alone, Too," in which the festive-jumper-festooned sisters dare to ask: "Are you watching Home Alone, too?" You can listen to the song here via YouTube and on Spotify and Apple Music and download it on iTunes, Amazon, and the Nonesuch Store to add to your favorite holiday playlist.

  • The Staves and yMusic performed at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in December to celebrate the release of their new album The Way Is Read. A video of their performance of the title track at the Walker is now available. Watch it here.

  • About This Album

    Nonesuch Records releases The Staves' Justin Vernon–produced label debut, If I Was, in the United States on March 31, 2015, with vinyl to follow April 21. The Staves, originally from Watford, England, are three sisters: Emily (vocals), Jessica (vocals, guitar), and Camilla (vocals, ukulele) Staveley-Taylor. The album was recorded in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, at Vernon's April Base Studios—a former veterinary clinic where he also recorded his 2012 self-titled Bon Iver album. 

    The Staves released their first full-length album—2012's Glyn and Ethan Johns-produced Dead & Born & Grown—to critical acclaim. The Sunday Times called it "a debut of stellar beauty and hidden depths," while the Telegraph, in its four-star review, noted that the "graceful melodies reveal a supple strength and modernity." The trio has since spent much of the past three years touring the world, including opening spots with the Civil Wars, Mumford & Sons, and Bon Iver.

    It was during the Bon Iver dates that the sisters formed a bond with Vernon and his band and were invited to visit April Base's relaxed, idyllic setting. "There was no plan to make a record there, or even demo anything; it was initially just to hang out and play some music with Justin," notes Jessica. "There was no pressure at all, we didn't even tell our label we were going." But by the end of the sisters' first visit to Wisconsin, it was evident that something significant was happening.

    "We made demos of about 10 songs and then asked ourselves, 'Aren't we actually just making a record?'" says Emily, adding that Vernon seemed equally unsure whether he was in fact producing The Staves' second album or not. "We hadn't created anything new in so long," adds Camilla. "We were really itching to take a break and to let out all this stuff that we hadn't had a chance to express. Fortunately we found a place to do just that in Justin's studio. It was the most liberating experience."

    Vernon recalls that the Staves “immediately were able to make their wings wide in the space. Their musical and vocal and songwriting abilities were very poised for something like this. It’s the way a record about deep things needs to happen: over a period of time, in a singular place, with enough time to reflect on themselves and express. I’ve made a lot of records now in my life and I have to say, making this one with them altered and changed me. Watching them go through that process and being more of a cultivator or sounding board gave me a unique perspective on a band crystallizing to true form.”

    In their new songs, The Staves examine their seemingly endless touring by imagining what they have left behind rather than writing about endless highways, hotel rooms, and what they see in front of them. "The amount of time we've spent away from home has affected all our relationships," states Emily. "And I don't just mean boyfriends, but relationships with family and close friends and wider groups of mates, who you just have to get used to never seeing. It can be difficult. Writing about it all is necessary therapy in making sense of quite an unconventional life."

    Credits

    MUSICIANS
    Camilla Staveley-Taylor, vocals (1¬–12), ukulele (1, 11), percussion (1, 2), acoustic guitar (2, 6, 8), electric guitar (5, 6), claps (7, 9), autoharp (8), tambourine (10)
    Jessica Staveley-Taylor, vocals (1–12), electric guitar (1, 2, 5, 8, 10), acoustic guitar (1, 2, 4, 7, 11), percussion (1), claps (9), piano (12)
    Emily Stavely-Taylor, vocals (1–12), percussion (1, 2), claps (7, 9), omnichord (8), tambourine (10)
    Justin Vernon, synth (1, 2, 5, 8, 11, 12), Wurlitzer (4), piano (4), electric guitar (5), bass (7), keyboards (8), vocals (11), choir vocals (11)
    Carmen Camerieri, horns (1, 3, 6, 9), piano (7)
    Robert Moose, strings (1, 6, 10), arrangements (1, 6, 9, 10), acoustic guitar (2, 9), piano (9)
    Matthew McCaughan, drums (1, 2, 5, 7, 9, 10), percussion (1, 2, 5, 7, 9), programming (7), choir vocals (11)
    Zach Hanson, percussion (2, 5), programming (6), drums (11), vibraphone (11), choir vocals (11), keyboards/synth (12)
    Bradley Cook, bass (2, 5, 10), keyboards (6), programming (6)
    Christopher Messina, choir vocals (11)

    PRODUCTION CREDITS
    Produced by Justin Vernon, assisted by Bradley Cook
    Recorded by Zach Hanson, assisted by Christopher Messina at April Base, Wisconsin
    Mixed by Justin Vernon, Zach Hanson & BJ Burton at April Base, Wisconsin
    Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, New York City

    All tracks written by The Staves

    Sleeve photography: Justin Vernon
    Extra photography: The Staves & Friends
    Design and layout: Frank Fieber

Format Availability

  • This album is available from Nonesuch in the United States only.

nonesuch's picture
on January 6, 2015 - 4:03pm
Artist Name: 
The Staves
Release Date: 
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - 13:00
DescriptionExcerpt: 

The Staves, three sisters originally from Watford, England, make their Nonesuch debut with If I Was. The Justin Vernon-produced album was recorded at Vernon's studio near Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where he recorded his 2012 self-titled Bon Iver album. "The voices are still silken, the sibling harmonies still graceful," says the Guardian of the new album, but with "the music taking thrilling leaps in character and complexity. The Watford sisters’ decision to work with Justin Vernon ... as producer was inspired." The New York Times says the trio brings "angelic harmonies" to the "consistently daring" album. Stereogum calls it "essential listening."

Description: 

Nonesuch Records releases The Staves' Justin Vernon–produced label debut, If I Was, in the United States on March 31, 2015, with vinyl to follow April 21. The Staves, originally from Watford, England, are three sisters: Emily (vocals), Jessica (vocals, guitar), and Camilla (vocals, ukulele) Staveley-Taylor. The album was recorded in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, at Vernon's April Base Studios—a former veterinary clinic where he also recorded his 2012 self-titled Bon Iver album. 

The Staves released their first full-length album—2012's Glyn and Ethan Johns-produced Dead & Born & Grown—to critical acclaim. The Sunday Times called it "a debut of stellar beauty and hidden depths," while the Telegraph, in its four-star review, noted that the "graceful melodies reveal a supple strength and modernity." The trio has since spent much of the past three years touring the world, including opening spots with the Civil Wars, Mumford & Sons, and Bon Iver.

It was during the Bon Iver dates that the sisters formed a bond with Vernon and his band and were invited to visit April Base's relaxed, idyllic setting. "There was no plan to make a record there, or even demo anything; it was initially just to hang out and play some music with Justin," notes Jessica. "There was no pressure at all, we didn't even tell our label we were going." But by the end of the sisters' first visit to Wisconsin, it was evident that something significant was happening.

"We made demos of about 10 songs and then asked ourselves, 'Aren't we actually just making a record?'" says Emily, adding that Vernon seemed equally unsure whether he was in fact producing The Staves' second album or not. "We hadn't created anything new in so long," adds Camilla. "We were really itching to take a break and to let out all this stuff that we hadn't had a chance to express. Fortunately we found a place to do just that in Justin's studio. It was the most liberating experience."

Vernon recalls that the Staves “immediately were able to make their wings wide in the space. Their musical and vocal and songwriting abilities were very poised for something like this. It’s the way a record about deep things needs to happen: over a period of time, in a singular place, with enough time to reflect on themselves and express. I’ve made a lot of records now in my life and I have to say, making this one with them altered and changed me. Watching them go through that process and being more of a cultivator or sounding board gave me a unique perspective on a band crystallizing to true form.”

In their new songs, The Staves examine their seemingly endless touring by imagining what they have left behind rather than writing about endless highways, hotel rooms, and what they see in front of them. "The amount of time we've spent away from home has affected all our relationships," states Emily. "And I don't just mean boyfriends, but relationships with family and close friends and wider groups of mates, who you just have to get used to never seeing. It can be difficult. Writing about it all is necessary therapy in making sense of quite an unconventional life."

ProductionCredits: 

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Produced by Justin Vernon, assisted by Bradley Cook
Recorded by Zach Hanson, assisted by Christopher Messina at April Base, Wisconsin
Mixed by Justin Vernon, Zach Hanson & BJ Burton at April Base, Wisconsin
Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, New York City

All tracks written by The Staves

Sleeve photography: Justin Vernon
Extra photography: The Staves & Friends
Design and layout: Frank Fieber

Cover Art: 
Nonesuch Selection Number: 

548238

FormatRestrictions: 

This album is available from Nonesuch in the United States only.

ns_album_releasedate: 
Tuesday, January 6, 2015 - 21:00
Album Status: 
UPC/Price: 
Label: 
CD+MP3
UPC: 
825646148806
Price: 
12.00
Label: 
LP+MP3
UPC: 
825646148790
Price: 
20.00
Label: 
MP3
UPC: 
825646153176
Price: 
9.00
Label: 
FLAC
UPC: 
825646153145
Price: 
10.00
MusicianDetails: 

MUSICIANS
Camilla Staveley-Taylor, vocals (1¬–12), ukulele (1, 11), percussion (1, 2), acoustic guitar (2, 6, 8), electric guitar (5, 6), claps (7, 9), autoharp (8), tambourine (10)
Jessica Staveley-Taylor, vocals (1–12), electric guitar (1, 2, 5, 8, 10), acoustic guitar (1, 2, 4, 7, 11), percussion (1), claps (9), piano (12)
Emily Stavely-Taylor, vocals (1–12), percussion (1, 2), claps (7, 9), omnichord (8), tambourine (10)
Justin Vernon, synth (1, 2, 5, 8, 11, 12), Wurlitzer (4), piano (4), electric guitar (5), bass (7), keyboards (8), vocals (11), choir vocals (11)
Carmen Camerieri, horns (1, 3, 6, 9), piano (7)
Robert Moose, strings (1, 6, 10), arrangements (1, 6, 9, 10), acoustic guitar (2, 9), piano (9)
Matthew McCaughan, drums (1, 2, 5, 7, 9, 10), percussion (1, 2, 5, 7, 9), programming (7), choir vocals (11)
Zach Hanson, percussion (2, 5), programming (6), drums (11), vibraphone (11), choir vocals (11), keyboards/synth (12)
Bradley Cook, bass (2, 5, 10), keyboards (6), programming (6)
Christopher Messina, choir vocals (11)

[{"parent":{"title":"Get on the list !","body":" Get exclusive information about NONESUCH tour dates, video premieres and special announcements ","field_newsletter_id":"14075483","field_label_list_id":"6389157","field_display_rates":"-1","field_preview_mode":"false","field_lbox_height":"","field_lbox_width":"","field_toaster_timeout":"16000","field_toaster_position":"From Bottom","field_turnkey_height":"800"}}]

Performs On