Thursday, April 2, 2009

Maria Taylor works best with "Lady Luck" on her side

By Meredith Deliso

(Published in the 4.2.09 issue of 24/Seven)

Maria Taylor may be best known for her work with the all-female pop dream trio Azure Ray and projects with other Saddle Creek artists such as Bright Eyes, as well as collaborations with Moby and Crooked Fingers. For the past few years, though, the singer has been churning out her own folk-pop and celebrates the release of her third solo album, “LadyLuck,” this month, out on April 7 on Nettwerk Records.

A cross-country tour in support of her latest brings the singer to Brooklyn this month, with a show at the Gowanus venue The Bell House on April 12.

“I have so many friends in New York City,” says the singer, “so it is always one of the best stops on a tour.”

Coming off an all-acoustic release, last year’s “Savannah Drive,” Taylor wanted a lusher, fuller record, complete with strings, woodwinds and percussion, from the light clarinets and flutes on “Ladyluck” to the orchestral swell of “Time Lapse Lifeline,” a standout on the release.

The album title is obviously taken from the track of the same name, the first song the Birmingham, Ala., native wrote after moving to Los Angeles, and fittingly much of the album talks about personal growth and the change that brings – a sense of renewal, with an eye on the future.

“I was staring at the hummingbirds outside from my balcony and watching my new best friend doing whatever greatness she was doing on her computer,” says Taylor of writing “Ladyluck.” “Everything was new, scary and exciting.”

With her as usual on her album is Andy LeMaster. Also joining her on “Ladyluck” is friend Michael Stipe of REM fame, who helped write the last track, “Cartoons and Forever Plans,” with Taylor and LeMaster, as well as lent his scruffy vocals.

“He, Andy LeMaster and I stayed up till sunrise working on this song together,” says Taylor of the tune, a playful love song that closes out the album on such a sweet, genuine note. “I had the music, melody and some of the words, and then Michael pretty much filled in the blanks with his amazing lyrics. It was such a great night.”

Supporting Taylor on her tour are The Whispertown 2000, a Los Angeles-based indie band not new to the Saddle Creek crew, having toured with Bright Eyes, and the first group to sign to Gillian Welch’s Acony Records.

“I haven’t been this excited to tour with a band in forever,” says Taylor. “We are all cramming in my van. All nine of us. It will make us feel 18 again.”

The tour isn’t the only thing Taylor has keeping her busy right now. She’s continuing to work with LeMaster on songs, including her own solo material. And there are talks of an Azure Ray album sometime next year, which should have fans of the previously disbanded group, whose last record was in 2004, excited.

“I have a lot of think about,” says Taylor. “Kind of makes me want to get another glass of wine.”

Maria Taylor plays The Bell House (149 7th Ave.) on April 12 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance, available for purchase at, or $14 the day of the show. For more information, go to or call 718-643-6510. For more on the musician, go to


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