Americana Highways is hosting this premiere of Maia Sharp’s song “When The World Doesn’t End (feat. PJ Pacifico)” from her forthcoming album Mercy Rising, due to be available on May 7. The album’s basic rhythm tracks were recorded at Resistor Studio with Joshua Grange. Musicians on the album are Ross McReynolds on drums, Will Honaker on bass and Joshua Grange on electric guitars and Maia Sharp on acoustic guitars, piano, Wurlitzer and vocals; with appearances by Mindy Smith, Peter Groenwald, PJ Pacifico, Anna Schulze, Thomas Finchum, Cyd Greenwood and Gabe Dixon.
This is a contemporary sad song that wears its heart on its sleeve for everyone to share. Amidst the sadness, the world doesn’t end, so what do you do then? Listen and commiserate.
PJ (Pacifico) and I started talking about how we can both play out a scenario in our minds all the way to doomsday. We spend so much time and energy when the thing itself might actually turn out to be less scary than our own spiraling thoughts. That’s when we saw the angle for the song…then what do you do…when the world surprises you and just keeps turning?
We had written together before and anytime we recorded what we wrote one of us would sing lead and the other would pepper in some BG vocals. It always struck me how easily our voices blended even though they are totally different from each other. We saw “When the World Doesn’t End” as an opportunity to really take that mysteriously cool thing out for a spin. I asked PJ to be unison with me up to the chorus then a prominent harmony and then we intentionally loosened it up to let the mirroring not match exactly. I know it’s a very different vibe but Meshell Ndegeocello’s song “Wasted Time” featuring Joe Henry was an inspiration for that approach and reassurance that two distinctively different voices can come together to be a whole new animal. — Maia Sharp