Maia Sharp – Mercy Rising
Originally from LA, singer-songwriter Maia Sharp (acoustic guitar/piano/Wurlitzer/Mellotron/saxes/ vocals) relocated to Nashville where she continues to write songs for established artists & herself. She’s contributed to recordings by Bonnie Raitt, Art Garfunkel, & Trisha Yearwood, among others.
Mercy Rising (Independent-Drops May 7) is her 42-minute 8th LP & begins with the title track solidly orchestrated, with tingling acoustic guitars & Maia’s formidable vocals. Many songs by Maia are co-written with different writers to allow diversity & she has it. Not all songs will hit you in the gut but there’s a noticeable quality to each. Thought out with care to create something that validates it.
Influences vary to my ears but it’s obvious Ms. Sharp has honed her craft to the point of sculpting her own indelible style. The songs seem as if they are created in neutral territory. Nothing seems pointedly country, alt-country, rootsy, pop, or Americana. It’s simply an assembly of well-written songs that can be adapted to any of those genres. The lyrics tell tales uncluttered. The images create intriguing moments. A good example: “Backburner,” that cooks nicely on a low flame & it’s clever.
The titles to Maia’s songs are often creative except for perhaps “Nice Girl,” which is juvenile. The song itself is good. But that’s only one. “Make a Nice Girl Miserable Some Day,” would’ve been better because it would’ve made me want to listen. To know more. A title like “Nice Girl,” doesn’t generate any interest. Is it a song about some schoolgirl who isn’t promiscuous? Or a prim & proper shy Catholic girl who doesn’t drink beer. The line in the song “making a nice girl miserable someday,” is delicious. It’s intriguing. Captivating. Why? Why would I make a nice girl miserable someday?
There’s little to say about Maia’s voice over her 12-cuts. She has good resonance throughout; she’s consistently interesting & songs tie her voice to musical credibility with no showboating. Her use of words: exceptional. Expressive, impressionistic & have value. Lyrical cleverness is as important as a smoking guitar or piano solo. Ask Dylan, Leonard Cohen or Joni Mitchell.
“Whatever We Are,” is a beauty. Ms. Sharp’s voice is lovely. “In the back of my mind, or in the back of your car, I love you, whatever we are.” Marvelous. I understand exactly what she means. Among the many musicians: Ross McReynolds (drums), Will Honaker (bass), Joshua Grange (electric guitar/steel guitar/Chinese Moon guitar/synths), Chris Carmichael (strings), Gabe Dixon (organ/vocals) Mindy Smith, Thomas Finchum, Noah Guthrie, Anna Schultze & Peter Groenwald (backing voices). Add’l vocals: PJ Pacifico, & Cyd Greenwood.
“Missions,” is a stunner. Well-written, performed & outstanding. If I had to make a suggestion – Maia needs a little edge in some songs. Think Lucinda Williams, Patti Smith. Raise some eyebrows.
Produced by Maia & available @ https://www.maiasharp.com/