I’ve been all over the place lately – from retro funk to poppy post-hardcore, bluegrass songwriters to rediscovered old favorites from mix CDs of days gone by. There’s a few newer releases I’m incredibly stoked on and replaying continuously while driving aimlessly, getting lost in a new city. Not to mention the stage full of banjos strumming standards I’ve caught live the last two Wednesdays.

But this night calls for something vaguely haunting and free of association, something to get lost in. The delicate harmonies of The Staves glide over suitability scenic lyrics like they’re on ice, the subtle dynamics are absolutely stunning. The studio version of this song, “Winter Trees,” has drums and strings and all sorts of build-up towards the end of song when it speeds up some – the kind very much in keeping with modern folk – but I love the tension in the live acoustic version. Sometimes all that studio stuff can take away from the songwriting, like a pretty girl dressed in so many scarves and jewels you don’t even notice her face.

“White winter trees
Covered in snow
I don’t mind
I don’t mind
I think of you now
Here in the cold
You won’t mind
You won’t know

But I never meant to say
Any of those things
Oh I never meant to tell you how
To be or how to think
Oh I was wrong

Heavy of heart
Weary of soul
You won’t mind
You won’t mind
I think of him now
Fathoms below
You won’t mind
You won’t know

But I never meant to say
Any of those things
Words can sound so cruel
When you speak before you think
Oh I was wrong

But you didn’t understand
That my heart was in your hands
You were so blind
Blind

I promised you that I’d never let you down
Oh but I couldn’t love you any less than now

And I promised you that I’d never let you down
Oh but I couldn’t love you any less than I do now

And I lost myself on that November night
White winter trees
Covered in snow
I don’t mind”
~Winter Trees
The Staves, Dead and Born and Gone