Has it really only been two years since I last saw Maria Taylor perform a solo set in Toronto? It seems like it’s been much longer, underscored by the fact that her last trip north of the border was as a part of the duo, Azure Ray, which left me with a sour taste in my mouth and a strong desire to see another Maria Taylor showcase.
I never expected at the Azure Ray show that my wish would be granted a mere six months later. Sure, it was a truncated opening set for ex-Drive By Truckers member Jason Isbell, but it was at the Horseshoe Tavern — the site of my first Maria Taylor experience just a hair over four years ago. I fell so deeply and completely in love with Maria that it seems weird to think there was a time when here music wasn’t a part of my life.
To make it an even more intimate and exciting affair, Maria was touring with her brother, Macey Taylor on bass and banjo, and Kate Taylor on drums. Could it get any closer to seeing a show in the Taylor family living room without traveling to Birmingham? Doubtful.
The band was joined by Browan Lollar from the 400 Unit on lead guitar, and he was a phenomenal addition. The subtle leads and solos were a fantastic touch, but where his contribution really shined was how rockin’ he helped make the band sound. Having heard Xanax live like, a gazillion times, I feel totally qualified to say that this evening’s version was far and away the best.
Maria’s brand of music can rarely be described as energetic, but this evening’s criminally under-attended set (long weekend, be damned!) was electric. The only slip came during the predictable closer, Song Beneath The Song, which was performed with uncharacteristic emotional detachment and a bit of a Nashville “twang” to the voice that didn’t suit the fiercer, distorted, full-band treatment the song was getting.
That being said, one of my secret surprises of the night was how lovely Kate Taylor’s voice is. Does anyone know if she’s done anything a gentleman might be able to get his hands on?
But I digress. It was a suitably lovely evening, and everything I’d hoped for considering the circumstances. I didn’t end up staying for Jason Isbell, whom I’ve heard nothing of and discovered he recently instituted a No Taping policy, leaving me little incentive to give him a fair shake. Sorry dude, but you would have had a tough time following Maria, anyway.
The recording sounds spectacular, and is definitely worth a grab if you’re at all interested in Maria’s work. With a new album coming out this summer (titled Overlook… look for it), I’m hoping for a chance to see her again in the fall — hopefully with a setlist that doubles in length! Until this, this tape will have to tide me over.
- Cartoons and Forever Plans
- Birmingham, 1982
- Clean Getaway
- Ballad of Sean Foley
- In A Bad Way
- Bad Idea?
- Song Beneath The Song
Thanks to Maria, Macey and Kate Taylor, Browan Lollar, and the Horseshoe Tavern.