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|I was pleasantly surprised to hear that you had a new album coming out since you had just wrapped up a tour with Azure Ray at the time. Do you think bringing the band back together influenced the new record at all?|
Also, how does your song writing process change when you work on your solo music as opposed to on Azure Ray? And how do you decide what project the music that you’re writing will actually be a part of?
Yes, I do think that being on tour with Azure Ray influenced the new record. When I write for Azure Ray, I keep the hypnotic, mellow, subtle vibe of the band in mind. The songs aren't as all over the place as on my solo efforts. We keep an aesthetic in mind as we write and when we are in the studio. I love it, but it's also great to have my solo project as an outlet to write and perform songs that are all over the map. I have country songs, rock songs, folk songs, pop songs... I just put whatever comes to mind on the record. It's fun and just different. I think being on the Azure Ray tour made me want to come home and write some jangly southern rocks songs.
Overlook seems to be a more experimental album than your past work. Was this a conscious effort or was that simply the kind of music you felt like making at the time?
It was just where I was at the time. I did consciously decide to produce it where it sounded more raw than my previous albums. Less overdubs, as much live as we could could, and even used lots of my demo tracks mixed in with the studio tracks.
Your family has recorded and toured with you in the past, and your father was recently involved in the making of the new album. How much does your family contribute to your music, both in terms of the actual music and support?
My family gives me infinite support, and Macey and Kate (brother and sister) have come with me into the studio many times. In fact, Macey has played the bass on almost all songs on my solo records. They both tour with me all the time. We did a tour recently where it was just the 3 of us in a van for 6 weeks. It was one of my favorite tours. I'm very lucky to have them.
It’s always interesting to hear what musicians listen to, especially when their choice of music is not what you’d expect. What have you been listening to lately and what have been some of the major influences on Overlook? What about overall?
I was listening to The Band, Ween, John Prine... whatever my brother would put on his mixed CDs.
What made you go back to Saddle Creek for this release?
They were the first to email me and say "So, we hear you're working on a new record."
I don't know, I tried Nettwerk out as an experiment to see how different labels worked. Everyone at Saddle Creek is a friend of mine and it just felt right.
Speaking of, Saddle Creek seems to be one big family of some staple musicians of the indie scene. What is it like to be part of such an iconic label and what is your relationship like with the label and your label-mates?
I feel like back in the day it was more like a big family and there weren't as many indie record labels at that time. They have signed so many new bands and there are so many great indie labels out there these days. I like working with them because they are my friends. I've been working with them for almost 10 years.
You’re touring with Big Harp this week, another label-mate, and you have actually worked with half of the band (Stefanie) before. Do you prefer going on tour with musicians/bands that you’re personally familiar with or do you enjoy the challenge of touring with and getting to know new bands?
I like both. I try to mix it up. Tour with friends and family half of the time and then tour with people I don't know, but like their music. We just finished up the first leg of the tour with Big Harp and Dead Fingers. They are both amazing bands and the tour was so much fun!
Andy LeMaster has worked with you quite a bit in the past few years, and the two of you released a mini album back in the day. How did this relationship with him start and can we expect another collaboration from the two of you?
Andy and I have been friends for years and years. We met when I lived in Athens, GA. We love making music together and have a project in the works that we are both very excited about!
One of the reasons why I connect to your music on the level that I do is because of how intimate it feels—musically and lyrically—and I’m sure many other fans feel the same way. Does it ever feel difficult to perform some of these very personal songs in front of an audience?
Not really. I'm one of those people that will meet someone and then be telling them my secrets an hour later. I love connecting with people and I love sharing my thoughts... with everyone.
You have been making music for so long and it makes me wonder whether you knew that being a musician was always “part of the plan” or if it just happened? How did you decide to pick up a guitar and start writing music?
I always knew it. I have tapes and tapes and tapes of recordings starting when I was 3 years old. My dad is a musician and it never even crossed my mind that I would do anything else. I danced ballet until I was 19. I loved dancing, but I still always knew that I would pursue music as a career.
Besides crafting the perfect folk/pop songs, what else do you enjoy doing?
I love wine. I love to go on vacations to wine country. I love wine tasting! Love, love, love it. Finding new wonderful wine is a hobby of mine, but I'm pregnant right now, so I haven't had any in almost 4 months!
Congrats and thank you for taking the time to do this. I hope to be able to catch you in this upcoming North American tour whenever it comes to Toronto!
10:22 AM on 01/18/12
I fell harder in love with her when she said that.
10:39 AM on 01/18/12
11:04 AM on 01/18/12
I loved her but I haven't listened to the latest album yet. It's been sitting her for months. Leap Year is still a great song. I had the cutest little crush on her for years
11:16 AM on 01/18/12
11:44 AM on 01/18/12
Great interview. MT can never have too much praise.
12:14 PM on 01/18/12
Rombauer. Their chardonnay was the damn jam back when I drank.
02:21 PM on 01/18/12
I've been in love with Maria Taylor for so long. I have seen her every time she has come to AZ, and I'll never get enough. She's great.
02:34 PM on 01/18/12
Shame she's pregnant so my dream is shattered.
03:36 PM on 01/18/12
Great interview! She seems lovely
04:23 PM on 01/18/12
Did you just bitchslap my beer?
These were really good questions. She seems so cool. I didn't know that about her and her brother and sister touring for 6 weeks in a van. That's amazing. As usual I can't wait for anything from her or Azure Ray.
05:10 PM on 01/18/12
I love this woman. Met her when JEW played a secret show in Columbus to maybe 30 people. I had never heard of her before, but after her set I bought an album, talked to her, and have bought every record since. Such beautiful, intimate music.
05:44 PM on 01/19/12
Got back into her music last year. I must've listened to LadyLuck a lot of times since. Overlook had its left-field moments (the first two tracks in mind), so it was interesting reading about what influenced her experimental side. She seems like a really cool person too.
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