Maria Taylor @ Lee’s Palace

      . : : October 30th, 2007 : : .

After falling in love with Maria Taylor upon an impulsive trip to see her play the Horseshoe Tavern earlier in the spring, I made sure I did whatever it took to see her perform again when she returned to town as the opening act for Josh Rouse. I rushed down to Lee’s Palace after a long day at work, paid the cover charge at the door and secured a spot against the left speaker stacks. The only thing left was to wait. And wait I did.

After some time, Maria Taylor took the stage with an awkward-looking bespectacled gentleman in really tight pants. I blinked in confusion, as if my tired eyes were playing tricks on me. Where was the stage full of musicians? Where was the rhythm section? This wasn’t at all what I was expecting!

But I wasn’t let down, either. That wiry man accompanying Maria turned out to be the multi-talented Andy LeMaster of Now It’s Overhead, and the remaining members of the band had been stranded at the side of the road with the troublesome touring van, which had conked out en route. Rather than miss yet another Toronto show (Maria couldn’t make it to the one prior to the previous because she got stuck in traffic!), she rented a car and shoved Andy in the passenger seat and her gear in the back and barreled across the border. Needless to say, Maria and Andy were unprepared for such circumstances, but professionally improvised an extraordinary and intimate set list that made an entire room of on-lookers forget that bands are even supposed to have, y’know, drums and bass and stuff.

The setlist was a scant seven songs, and relied heavily on songs from her latest release, Lynn Teeter Flower, but was evened out by a preview of a handful of new songs that would later be released on the limited edition Savannah Drive EP (in a similar duet fashion with Andy LeMaster) and again in a fleshed out form on her follow up LP, LadyLuck. This preview made a unique performance seem even more revealing and transparent.

Josh Rouse didn’t stand a chance as a follow up, so I took my leave early to get some sleep (sorry Josh!) but ran into Maria Taylor by the merch desk on my way out back. I handed her a copy of the previous recording and thanked her for a couple of great performances. I later received some e-mails from Andy LeMaster about getting his hands on this recording, which I of course obliged and now similarly share with you, dear readers.

I was caught off guard by the small band, and you’ll notice I have to fiddle with the levels at the beginning of the first song. Otherwise, this is a pretty good recording of another spectacular set that is a must-have for any Maria Taylor fans.

  1. [introduction]
  2. Birmingham 1982
  3. Time Lapse Lifeline
  4. Orchids
  5. Clean Getaway
  6. Cartoons and Forever Plans
  7. [banter]
  8. A Good Start
  9. Song Beneath The Song

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Birmingham 1982 (Live In Toronto) [MP3 sample]

Thanks to Maria Taylor, Andy LeMaster, Saddle Creek Records, and the wonderful Lee’s Palace. Please download and distribute this recording freely, and support the bands by buying their albums, merchandise and concert tickets when they perform in your town.

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