The Staves @ Club Congress

Stateside & The Rialto Theatre Present

The Staves @ Club Congress

Mikaela Davis

Feb 25 Sat

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

Club Congress

$15.00

This event is all ages

The Staves
The Staves
Taking a cue from youthful folk revivalists like Laura Marling, Mountain Man, and the Pierces, Watford, England's the Staves blend the wistful cadences of classic British folk with breezy, Laurel Canyon-era Americana. The trio was formed in 2010 around the talents of sisters Emily (vocals), Jessica (vocals/guitar), and Camilla Staveley-Taylor (vocals/ukulele), who first learned to harmonize by singing along with their parents' record collection, dominated by the likes of Simon & Garfunkel and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Emily was only 14 years old when the siblings made their live debut at a neighborhood pub's open-mike night, but they were well received and began appearing on a regular basis. They released their debut EP, Facing West, in 2010, and the same year they performed as backing vocalists on Tom Jones' 2010 gospel collection Praise & Blame.
The year 2011 brought a pair of EPs, Live at Cecil Sharp House and Mexico, which brought them to the attention of the major labels. The siblings signed with Atlantic Records, and capitalizing on the buzz created by their well-received debuts, they spent the beginning of 2012 supporting acts the Civil Wars and Bon Iver in North America before releasing their first full-length outing, Dead & Born & Grown, which was produced by Glyn and Ethan Johns. The fall of 2014 saw the release of another EP, Blood I Bled; the title track was a preview of the album If I Was, which was produced by Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and released in February 2015. The trio toured with Florence and the Machine, and also appeared at Glastonbury. An EP, Sleeping in a Car, followed in 2016. ~ James Christopher Monger, Rovi
Mikaela Davis
Mikaela Davis is the kind of songwriter who routinely defies expectations. The 23 year-old artist is a composer of striking maturity. Her arrangements deftly combine elements of psychedelic rock, folk and chamber pop, and her vocals display a wisdom and a ruefulness that belie her years. Davis' instrument of choice is the harp, which she has played since she was eight years old, right about the time she could actually get her hands around the instrument. A native of Rochester, New York, she spent her formative years in youth orchestras rather than in garage bands and later earned a degree from the Crane School of Music.

Though Davis is clearly well-versed in the classical canon and is accustomed to performing in a recital setting, her approach to the harp is an unorthodox one. She often employs her instrument as a pulse, a rhythm or as texture as muscular as a guitar's. Her sound is seamlessly integrated into a rock-band context, or, on a track like "Interlude in the Sky" from her 2014 EP Fortune Teller, as part of a beautiful and dynamic orchestral arrangement. On "Feels Like Forever," from the same EP, the harp functions like a loop in a dreamy groove, layered with vocal harmonies and synths. Even in high school, Davis was thinking outside the box in regards to her instrument: Despite her rigorous schedule, she often managed to do a little weekend outdoor busking at a local market with a ukulele-playing friend.

Rochester-based Brian Moore, producer of Fortune Teller and Mikaela's 2012 self-titled debut album, recently told The Boston Globe what it was like to experience her music for the first time: "She had the personality, and she's obviously talented at harp and songwriting. I think the unique thing about Mikaela is she could stand alone with her songwriting and her vocals, but combined with what she can do technically on the harp – hearing that was just a shock to me."

The young Davis – who has garnered opening slots with such artists as Punch Brothers, Jukebox the Ghost and My Brightest Diamond, among other artists – is now splitting her time between her Brooklyn home and a Nashville recording studio, where she is completing her second full-length recording with her long time band mates Alex Cote, Cian McCarthy and Shane McCarthy. ("They've also helped me develop my sound a lot," Davis notes. "I would be a very different performer without them.") She recently wrote and performed a piece for the new Joywave album and, in turn the Rochester-based indie rockers remixed a track from Fortune Teller for her. Nickel Creek singer-violinist Sara Watkins also asked Davis to contribute harp to her new disc. Davis's own forthcoming album, produced by Konrad Snyder and Jeremy Lutito, promises a sound even more intriguing than what she's created already: "It's a big step for my songwriting." she declares. The new material, she promises, will be her most ambitious work to date.

"I think a harp can do anything," Davis declares. And so, as her recordings and live shows already indicate, can Davis.