Press Release: Maria Taylor will release her new album Something About Knowing on October 29 via Saddle Creek Records. While Maria has already gained widespread recognition as one-half of the dream-pop duo Azure Ray, released four solo albums and an EP and collaborated with esteemed musicians including Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), Michael Stipe (R.E.M.), Jim Eno (Spoon) and Moby, her prolific career has only scratched the surface of what the Alabama-based artist has to say. Her first release after becoming a mother, the aptly titled Something About Knowing is the critically acclaimed artist’s most assured record yet – celebrating her folk, pop and electronic lineages with the casual grace and confident ease that comes with parenthood.
Singer-songwriter Maria Taylor puts forth a centered album that glows with the wonder and awe-of self-discovery on her upcoming release. “In the past, I wrote when I was sad or depressed, this was the first time I wrote songs when I wasn’t sad. If there were tears in my life, they were happy tears,” She says with a good-natured laugh. “There were happy tears. A lot of the big life questions are answered. I now know what tomorrow is going to bring.”
Maria began her professional music career at 15 with alt-rock pioneers Little Red Rocket in the mid 1990s. After two albums with that band, Maria went onto Azure Ray (also featuring Little Red Rocket co-vocalist Orenda Fink) which remains active a decade in. In addition to lending her voice for numerous Bright Eyes records, most notably the gold-certified, “I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning,” Maria also played piano and drums on several of their recordings, and toured around the world playing drums with the band.
In 2005, Maria announced her solo career, a new adventure that would allow her to explore a new earthy sensibility and transcendent synthetic soundscapes with renowned artists such as Jim Eno (Spoon), Michael Stipe (R.E.M.), Moby, Doug Easley (Cat Power, Pavement), David Barbe (Sugar, Drive-By Truckers, Son Volt) Crooked Fingers, as well as continuing to collaborate with Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes). Her songs have been featured on Unforgettable, Suburgatory, Private Practice, Bones, Grey’s Anatomy (one episode was named after her song), Greek and One Tree Hill. As a performer, she’s shared the stage with such respected and diverse artists as Midlake, Ben Lee, Jimmy Eat World, Josh Rouse ,Joshua Radin, Jason Isbell and has an upcoming show with Jim James (My Morning Jacket).
One of the most profound influences on Something About Knowing is the life-changing joy and newfound responsibility of being a first-time parent. “I worked on the album in bursts, when my son was napping,” Maria recalls. “Instead of taking a shower during those times, I’d run downstairs with the baby monitor and write and demo up songs.”
The album beckons with the opening track “Folk Song Melody,” a mesmerizing acoustic-with-celestial-atmospherics track crafted around a wordless singsong passage that’s instantly familiar. “That section says everything without words and the rest of the record fills in the emotions,” she says. And the emotions brimming on Something About Knowing are bliss and contentment.
Something About Knowing’s spirit of “coming home with confidence” extends from Maria’s personal and artistic peacefulness to the team she picked to surround herself with while making this album. She enlisted producer Mike Mogis, an essential creative foil on her first two records. Her brother Macey Taylor played bass on every song as well as keyboards and piano. And her old high school music pal Brad Armstrong co-wrote, played on, and recorded two tracks in his garage. “There we were back in his garage, only now we both had kids running around, it was really special,” Maria says. Longtime friend and collaborator Andy LeMaster mixed these two songs. Additionally, Maria recorded the track “This Is It” with Lester Nuby, and Daniel Farris-two trusted companions she worked with on her last two records-at home in Birmingham, Alabama. The end result is an album that feels like a warm family reunion of eclectic but beloved characters bonded by a musical bloodline.
“This record has the spirit of ‘This is how I feel now, and these are all the elements that brought me here,’” Maria explains. “I listened to my previous records and went in the studio wanting to take the best elements of each of them…I feel like I really conquered something on this one.”