Maria Taylor

maria-taylor-1111Maria Taylor is perhaps best known as half of Athens, Georgia’s Azure Ray or a quarter of Now It’s Overhead. She’s also sung on releases from Moby, The Faint, The Bruces and Bright Eyes. Finally, she’s stepped out on her own with her first solo album 11:11. Her gossamer voice finds its perfect match in the lazy, atmospheric music here.

Though the mood stays somber, Taylor’s music varies from electronica (“One For The Shareholder”) to breezy country (“Speak Easy”). And often, like on the opener, “Leap Year,” the music is an intriguing mix of the two. Live instruments combine with digital ones to create an atmosphere crackling with electricity and humming with human warmth.

The guest stars on the album read like a who’s who of the Saddle Creek family. Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), Mike Mogis, Gretta Cohn (Cursive), and Andy LeMaster (Now It’s Overhead) all lend their talents. But the clear star is Taylor’s voice. Light but full, her voice carries the songs through their dour yet bright scenes.

The production on the record shines but even in a stripped down live environment (her band features siblings Macey and Kate and Denver Dalley of Desaparecidos), expect Taylor’s singular voice to soar.

[This piece appears in the Rage.]