Sensitive and Timeless Songs of Love and Heartbreak Worthy of the 70’s Bedsit Superstars.
I’ve said it many times over the years; the whole reason for The Rocking Magpie being in existence; is to bring you new music that you won’t necessarily find in the mainstream press and this album from Angelino singer-songwriter Maia Sharp; who is now based in Nashville, is such a case.
Although she’s been making albums since 97 and writing songs for the great and the good in the interim; coupled with her combo Roscoe & Etta, with Anna Schulze who have released a couple of fabulous albums; Maia by name is still relatively unknown outside the musical cognoscenti.
The captivating Backburner opens the album, with a charming ‘bass heavy’ production which adds a certain ‘something’ to Ms. Sharp’s thoughtful and grown up tale of a love affair that is obviously doomed to failure; but …… but ….. but ….. she still has hope.
Junkyard Dog, Things To Fix and When The World Doesn’t End all being disparately different but all proving Maia can not just write a sizzling song but add a melody that her peers can only dream of creating.
Presumably being a songwriter pays the bills; but to my ears Maia Sharp has a voice like tattered velvet; drawing you into her fascinating tales like a siren on the cliff’s edge.
While most of us will listen to these songs on our phone’s headphones or the car stereo; I recommend you actually buy the CD (or vinyl if you are that way inclined) as the production here will be best served via a good pair of hi-fi speakers; with the curtains drawn too.
That will certainly be the best way to explore the endearing heartbreakers Nice Girl and You’ll Know Who Knows You; both of which oddly reminded me of Joni Mitchell, Tift Merritt AND Ashley Monroe in the way Maia constructs her narratives; drawing you in, then ……. punching you in the heart when you least expect it!
It will come as no great surprise that there are no ‘obvious singles’ here; as this is what used to be known as AOR (I guess); and it certainly is aimed at the likes of you and me who have the capacity to listen to an album from start to finish in one sitting; perhaps even two or three; but there are a couple of songs that have managed to capture my attention over the others.
Things To Fix and Whatever We Are really are exceptional songs; both sitting up there with the best of the 70’s bedsit singer-songwriters that we still love and adore in 2021.
The title track itself; the dark and brooding Mercy Rising will take your breath away the first time you play it; then make you edge closer to the speakers to absorb every word and breath that comes from Maia’s mouth.
Then, there is the quirky Not Your Friend; which slightly jars with the album’s sequencing; deliberately so I guess; as the singer really does capture the intense feelings that a break-up of any sort make you do things that you shouldn’t oughta …… making this my Favourite Song on an album destined for my year end Top 20.
I’ve vaguely been aware of Maia Sharp over the years; and really enjoyed the last Roscoe & Etta album; but nothing prepared me for the intensity and beauty combined in the lyrics and stories on this album ….. it’s a keeper.