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Current concise reviews of the albums by adult alternative, contemporary, and crossover artists. Images of album artwork and links to both internet-based resources are always included. Click on the title to view the article.

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Maria Taylor - Something About Knowing - CD Cover
image © Saddle Creek Records 2013

.: more Maria Taylor :.
11:11 (2005)

.: with Azure Ray :.
As Above, So Below (2012)

Maria Taylor
click image to visit Maria's FaceBook
image © Saddle Creek Records 2013


(27 October 2013) Maria Taylor's latest offering is a new full length album entitled Something About Knowing (Saddle Creek Records (USA) LBJ-191-2, 2013). While Maria has already gained widespread recognition as one-half of the dream-pop duo Azure Ray, released four solo albums and an EP, and collaborated with numerous esteemed musicians, her prolific career is really just beginning.

Something About Knowing is Maria Taylor's first release after becoming a mother. It is clearly the artist's most assured record yet, with tracks spanning folk, pop and electronic lineages with the casual grace and confident ease that comes with parenthood. Says Maria, "In the past, I wrote when I was sad or depressed, this was the first time I wrote songs when I wasn't sad. If there were tears in my life, they were happy tears." She continued, "There were happy tears. A lot of the big life questions are answered. I now know what tomorrow is going to bring."

Maria began her music career at 15 with alt-rock pioneers Little Red Rocket--whose albums are certainly worth exploring further--in the mid-1990s. After two albums with that band, Maria went onto Azure Ray (with co-vocalist Orenda Fink), whose 2012 record As Above, So Below recently drew significant critical acclaim. In addition to lending her voice for numerous Bright Eyes records, Maria also played piano and drums on several of their recordings, and toured around the world playing drums with the band.

In 2005, Maria emerged with solo career, a new adventure that would allow her to explore a new earthy sensibility and transcendent synthetic soundscapes while joining up with other renowned artists. Her back catalog includes 11:11 (2005), Lynn Teeter Flower (2006), Lady Luck (2009), and Overlook (2011).

One of the largest influences on Something About Knowing is the life-changing joy and newfound responsibility of being a first-time parent. "I worked on the album in bursts, when my son was napping," Maria recalls. "Instead of taking a shower during those times, I'd run downstairs with the baby monitor and write and demo up songs."

The album opens with "Folk Song Melody," a mesmerizing acoustic-with-celestial-atmospherics track crafted around a wordless singsong passage that's instantly familiar. "That section says everything without words and the rest of the record fills in the emotions," she says. And the emotions brim with bliss and contentment.

Something About Knowing has a spirit of "coming home with confidence" that extends from Maria's personal and artistic peacefulness to the team she picked to surround herself with while making this album. She enlisted producer Mike Mogis, an essential creative foil on her first two records. Her brother Macey Taylor played bass on every song as well as keyboards and piano. And her old high school music pal Brad Armstrong co-wrote, played on, and recorded two tracks in his garage. "There we were back in his garage, only now we both had kids running around, it was really special," Maria says.

Longtime friend and collaborator Andy LeMaster mixed these two songs. Additionally, Maria recorded the track "This Is It" with Lester Nuby, and Daniel Farris-two trusted companions she worked with on her last two records-at home in Birmingham, Alabama. The end result is an album that feels like a warm family reunion of eclectic but beloved characters bonded by a musical bloodline.

"This record has the spirit of 'This is how I feel now, and these are all the elements that brought me here,'" Maria explains. "I listened to my previous records and went in the studio wanting to take the best elements of each of them. I feel like I really conquered something on this one."

Something About Knowing is a wonderful and rootsy album by Maria Taylor. The artist has combined her heartfelt singing and song writing with instrumental arrangements that will certainly delight current andand new fans. She's done it again. Something About Knowing is great album from Maria Taylor.

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