The Staves’ “I’ll Never Leave You Alone” Is a Beautiful Folk Song of Identity, Acceptance, and the Multitudes Within Us

The Staves "I'll Never Leave You Alone" © Harvey Pearson
The Staves "I'll Never Leave You Alone" © Harvey Pearson
The Staves learn to live with the multitudes within them on “I’ll Never Leave You Alone,” a breathtakingly beautiful, emotionally exposed folk song of self-love, acceptance, and the multifaceted nature of our human existence.
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Stream: “I’ll Never Leave You Alone” – The Staves




Push me away, but I’ll never leave you alone…

It was in another song, this one to the self, that the great American poet Walt Whitman embraced our innate vastness and complexity – the sheer multifaceted nature of humanity and being:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Published well over 150 years ago, “Song of Myself” from the collection Leaves of Grass is a staple of many a high school English classroom. Its 14,000+ words offer a reflection on what it means to exist; on the beauty, and the weight, of our intrinsic, inescapable individuality. They, and their lesson, held as true then as they do now: All these years of (supposed) human development and forward progress later, every single one of us is still reckoning with the many, sometimes contradictory, things that make us who we are.

The latest addition to this great canon of human enquiry and understanding comes wrapped in breathtakingly beautiful, warm and wondrous folk music. The Staves’ “I’ll Never Leave You Alone” is a dreamy, achingly intimate reverie; a lilting, fragile, and soul-stirring confession to that profound weight each of us feels, puppeting around this Earth with so many invisible strings attached to our backs, each one another strand of identity connecting us to something (or someone) outside ourselves.

I'll Never Leave You Alone - The Staves
I’ll Never Leave You Alone – The Staves
I’m a horse, I’m a dog, I’m a sparrow
I’m a spider inside you
Trying to keep you
off the straight and narrow

Pick me up, put me down, let me dangle
I’m a carrot on a string
I’m the sword as it hangs above you
I’m the curse, I’m the cure, the solution
I’m the reality and the illusion
I’m a kid, I’m a friend, I’m a teacher
I’m the object in the distance
But you’ll never reach her

Released February 21, 2024 via Nonesuch Records, “I’ll Never Leave You Alone” is as tender and gentle as it is vulnerable and visceral. Following previous releases “All Now,” “I Don’t Say It, But I Feel It,” and “You Held It All,” the fourth single off The Staves’ forthcoming fourth studio album All Now (out March 22) feels, in many ways, like a homecoming of sorts for the English band: Sisters Jessica and Camilla Staveley-Taylor return to the folk roots of their first two albums (2012’s Dead & Born & Grown and 2015’s If I Was) in a song that sees the pair blending their voices together in enchanting, soul-shaking harmony.

Light acoustic guitar strums, a soft rhythm section, and hushed electric guitar fills add refreshing depth, color, and nuance to an incredibly delicate musical and emotional experience that, like so many Staves songs that came before, ultimately focuses our attention on the voices in our ears – both what they’re saying, and how they’re saying it.

The Staves Are “All Now,” Isn't It Exciting?!

:: THIS JUST IN ::



I’m a rat, I’m a dirty little liar
I’m a deep sea diver
I’m a backseat driver in a storm
I’m the chord, I’m the bell that keeps ringing
A stone in your shoe
I’m the bird your cat keeps bringing home
Ooh ooh ooh
I’ll never leave you alone
Ooh ooh ooh
I’ll never leave you alone

While there’s no doubt about that intimate, heavy weight within, Jessica and Camilla Staveley-Taylor’s performance is sweetly radiant – their buoyant melodies glistening like a summer breeze as they unpack our interconnectedness, our individuality, and the relationship between the two. “I’m a horse, I’m a dog, I’m a sparrow. I’m a spider inside you, trying to keep you off the straight and narrow,” Jessica sings at the song’s start, weaving vivid visuals and emotionally charged metaphors with her words. “Pick me up, put me down, let me dangle. I’m a carrot on a string, I’m the sword as it hangs above you.”

The pair ultimately reach their climax in a cathartic chorus with the refrain, “I’ll never leave you alone.” It’s a beautiful, haunting phrase layered in meaning and enough vocal oohs to leave those who sing along with the Staveley-Taylor sisters properly out of breath… and it’s a reminder that all these parts of us don’t go away when we’re not thinking about them; they’re ever-present. Jessica Staveley-Taylor is a sister, a bandmate, a daughter, an aunt, someone’s ex… the list goes on. The (mostly metaphorical, we hope) spiders inside us, the “dirty little liar,” the “curse,” the “cure,” the “solution” – all those elements great and small, wicked and wondrous, add up to one bold, unapologetically multifaceted person.

They’ll never leave you alone, and throughout their song we get to bear witness to The Staves’ acceptance of that truth.

The Staves © Harvey Pearson
The Staves © Harvey Pearson



“This song is about balancing all the intricate parts and many faces of self- and womanhood, and the feelings of doubt that come from containing these multitudes,” the Staveley-Taylor sisters say of their new single. “It’s about learning to navigate and live with them. To make friends with your doubt and with yourself.”

I’m a rabbit, I’m the hunter and the snare
Daddy’s little Princess
Mummy’s little nightmare
I’m the window, I’m the door you left open
I’m the tap you left running
I’m the choice that you should have chosen

We are our strengths as well as our weaknesses. We may loathe or even detest parts of ourselves and our identities, but that doesn’t delegitimize their existence, nor does it remove them from our DNA. Even the most perfect among us is flawed, and at the end of the day, we must all learn to live with ourselves.

Ooh ooh ooh
I’ll never leave you alone
Ooh ooh ooh
I’ll never leave you alone
The Staves © Harvey Pearson
The Staves © Harvey Pearson



It’s about learning to navigate and live with them. To make friends with your doubt and with yourself.

It’s worth noting that, while the phrase “I’ll never leave you alone” could have felt ominous, never once is it uttered with anything other than love.

Through this song’s short and sweet four-minute run, we can’t help but feel the doors begin to open and the light shine in. Not only do The Staves douse us with an irresistibly catchy melody we’ll be singing all year long, but they also pack this music with the raw, visceral, and vibrant emotions of a soul coming into full view of itself.

A gentle giant in terms of its size and its scope, “I’ll Never Leave You Alone” is an ode to the multitudes within us and the brave, empowering act of accepting our full selves for all that we are. It’s an emotionally exposed, thought-provoking folk lullaby ready to soothe, to stir, to uplift, and to inspire. May we all follow The Staves on this path of self-love and acceptance.

Push me away, but I’ll never leave you alone
Ooh ooh ooh
Push me away, but I’ll never leave you alone
Ooh ooh ooh
I’ll never leave you alone

— —

:: stream/purchase All Now here ::
:: connect with The Staves here ::
Stream: “I’ll Never Leave You Alone” – The Staves



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I'll Never Leave You Alone - The Staves

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? © Harvey Pearson


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