the arkive

Stuart A. Staples

Stuart A. Staples is best known as the singer of the prolific band Tindersticks, and has also released several solo albums.

Like Tom Waits or Mark Lanegan, Stuart Staples has a ragged voice that sounds like it’s been wrecked by years of cigarettes and alcohol. Whether singing his lyrics in a whispery croon or incoherent mumble, Staples captures the twilight atmosphere of a lonely, dilapidated pub, creating sorrowful music that has little punch in daylight but becomes cathartic for lost souls in the late evening.

In 1992, Staples formed the Tindersticks, who immediately won over the British press with their eponymous first LP in 1993. Often compared to Waits, Nick Cave, and Leonard Cohen, Staples’ erotically charged and hauntingly disconsolate stories about relationships expanded the Tindersticks’ audience with each outing. Through word of mouth and stellar reviews, the band established a loyal following in America in the ’90s with no commercial radio airplay. Although the Tindersticks’ later efforts, such as 1997’s Curtains and 1999’s Simple Pleasure didn’t achieve the universal acclaim of their earlier LPs, Staples was still regarded as one of the finest songwriters in England. In 2005, he released a set of solo work, Lucky Dog Recordings 03-04, on Beggars Banquet, followed by Leaving Songs, also on Beggars Banquet, in 2006. ~ Michael Sutton

“He emerges here as a more “traditional” kind of songwriter; the tunes are more conventional in structure, but like his spiritual mentor Leonard Cohen, Staples’ lyrics are rooted firmly in the terrain of love, loss, regret, passage, dissolution, and absence.”

“Its warmth, honesty and intuitive sensitivity capture Stuart Staples firmly back to the dizzy high-quality heights of his cherishable early-career with the Tindersticks.”

“The world Staples addresses in his songs is almost never settled. Uncertainly lurks in every line, kept company by disaster, despair, and occasional malevolence. That tendency holds true on Leaving Songs, which any Tindersticks fan definitely must hear. As a solo record, it’s no declaration of independence, but by sticking to what he does best, Staples makes it ring with sadness and sophistication.”

“Staples quivering baritone conveys a sense of shellshock – one that he applies to both the darkness and the dawn, the ghosts of lovers yet to come.”

“It’s a testament to how dire radio R&B has become that pasty cottage crooners like Staples and back porch troubadours like Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner (whose vocals are comparable to Staples’) are creating some of the more convincing contemporary soul music.”

“There’s a gorgeous hesitation in Stuart Staples’ voice – a sad hiccup that puts a crimp in his croon. Think: Johnny Mathis meets Leonard Cohen.”

“Stuart Staples, whose voice once seemed threatening and punkish, has evolved into an affecting front man, shifting effortlessly from sweet crooning to spoken blues, often in the same heartbeat.”

  • Stuart A. Staples