Maria Taylor - Overlook
Never less than solid and occasionally intriguing, Maria Taylor's fourth solo album outside of Azure Ray is worth a look for fans of the American genre. If the wind blows the right way, she could yet pick up the chunk of the scene her followers would argue she deserves. Overlook, named after the street where she lives and a pointer to the Birmingham (Alabama, not Bull Ring) home where she wrote the songs is a loving showcase for her tender vocals and elegant compositions. Beyond the stirring intro to album opener 'Masterplan', where drums strain at the leash in a genuinely dramatic build-up, there's nothing that startles but there's plenty to love. Bound up in moments of reflection and the odd livelier work-out, Taylor's repetoire is starting to shine and is most definitely worthy of a place on the podium next to a clutch of similarly got-the-blues cowgirls (Kathleen Edwards, Tift Merritt, Neko Case). Highly recommended if that's your bag. If it's not, the songcraft is strong enough to merit investigation regardless.