The only positive about the music industry’s ongoing great depression is that when added with the possibilities of social media there can be an immediacy and an intimacy between musician and fan we have never seen before, and last night the result was an enormously enjoyable experience from the purveyor of my sixth favorite album of the year. Stageit, presented a Maria Taylor acoustic concert streamed live from her living room in Birmingham, Alabama.
According to its website “Stageit is an online venue where artists perform live, interactive, monetized shows for their fans directly from a laptop, offering fans unique experiences that are never archived.”, I am not sure why it isn’t archived, I would love to watch this concert again. You sign in to your account and you buy notes, 10 notes for a dollar with which you pay and tip the artists.
Featuring Maria’s brother Macey on guitar and banjo, and her sister holding down the beat, the three siblings sat on the floor of Maria’s living room while a friend read the live feed from fans such as yours truly watching at home. Hanging on the wall with care were Christmas stockings, a fire was roaring, a Christmas tree was in the corner and the atmosphere was casual, familial and pleasant and, well, professional: you couldn’t mistake it for anything but a great singer songwriter putting on a show. It never was less than immediate and fun and never ever sloppy or lazy.
Opening with “Up All Night” and following it with “Clean Getaway” Maria matched songs off Something About Knowing with classic tracks from her back catalog, the 48 minute set raced by in a blink of the eye and this despite a stream that froze way too often, disrupting the flow for the listener at home though it didn’t disrupt the fun.
The audience know Maria’s material well and before Maria’s dog makes an appearance, the most constant request is for “Buddy”. The big dog lumbered in and took his space in the frame and later during the encore two baby boys, apparently belonging to Maria and her sister, showed up, one, a dark tousled haired cutie pie who looked as though he’s just escaped from a Hallmark Christmas card, sang along and played with the doggie. The biggest tipper of the night was to receive “Macey”, Maria cracked but really “A painting and I’ll put my heart and soul into it.” I tipped $17 and came in at # 26!!!
Musically, the evening was one long highlight though a special pleasure was Macey Taylor’s banjo solo on “Bad Idea”, the wonderful “Song Beneath The Song”, really any time her two siblings added their harmonies, a fun “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” and… “You’ve Got A Way With The Light”. As happens with all great albums, my favorite on Something About Knowing keeps changing and this week it is that one. What happened for me is I finally got around to noticing a wonderful play on words:
Baby I’ll keep all the paintings you make
As the winter keeps the spring
You got a way with the light
I got the evening
The melody is gorgeous, and Taylor sings it with a voice that sounds fragile at first but then you catch the strong undertow, as though gentle emotions can have just as much strength as the most ferocious; the joy in that sort of lyricism should need no explanation here (actually a friend just asked me to explain it: the light an artist uses for painting is played against the light of day. Later she would add “the light in your eyes”) So I requested Maria sing it and before the song she said “This is for Iman, he interviewed me when I was in New York and he was really sweet.” Which makes Maria and Helen Bach the only people who think so and you can read my Maria interview here! A lovely version, Maria’s singing throughout the evening has been superb, as though there isn’t a melody she can’t caress with that silken dulcet tone! This was, needless to say, the highlight of the show for me!
Any complaints: yeah, I was hoping to get a peek of her husband and where was “Folk Song Melody”? But other than that I can’t think of a more apt or special way of spending the Sunday before Christmas than with Maria Taylor’s family.
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – June 1975 (Volume 7, Number 1)
Smith’s final freelance contribution to Creem.
putting Nigeria on the map
back at # 1 for a third non consecutive week
not a dreamer but a steely eyed businessman and pop musician
Willie Nelson will play at the Palomino fest on Saturday
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – May 1975 (Volume 6, Number 12
Elton John came across as completely engaging
by episode nine, season four, the bastards finally got me sick of Kate!
some hooky and wildly inspired tune
Harry has the summer of his career!