Call it revenge of the guest vocalists: First there was Leslie Feist, of the Broken Social Scene fame, who recently released her solo debut Let It Die. Now Maria Taylor, one half of Georgia’s Azure Ray and back-up singer for the likes of Conor Oberst, the Faint, and Crooked Fingers-and whose soft, supple voice flits in and out of Moby’s 18–is forging her own path. Taylor’s solo debut, 11:11 was released on May 24th on Oberst’s Saddle Creek label.
The similarities with Feist do not end with their impressive collaborations. Both women have the same sexy quietness to their voices and deceptively simple arrangements that flirt with folk, indie rock and fuzzy, looped electronics. But while Feist’s influences are more European, Maria Taylor takes cues from her straight Dixie background (she was born and raised in Alabama before relocating to Georgia). The second-to-last song off 11:11, “Speak Easy,” sounds like an update on the Patsy Cline ode to young love, “Walkin’ After Midnight,” with its sweet violins and country folk twang. “And through the darkness of the night / I’ll trace your silhouette in candlelight,” Taylor sweetly croons.
Maria just wrapped up a tour with fellow singer-songwriter Ben Lee and, in an odder pairing, Har Mar Superstar. Taylor keeps in all in the family for this tour using members of her biological and record-label families to round out her act. Maria’s back-up band consists of her brother Macey, her sister Kate, and Denver Dalley, who is part of Saddle Creek’s own Desaparecidos. Taylor will be touring the United States and Europe this summer to support 11:11.