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Maia Sharp: Respected songwriter takes the spotlight

By Sean Smith

Fort Wayne Reader

2007-04-10


Maia Sharp may not be a household name, but chances are you have an album with a song she wrote. Mindy Smith, Bonnie Raitt, Edwin McCain, Lisa Loeb, The Dixie Chicks and Trisha Yearwood have all released albums with songs penned by Sharp. Go get your copy of Shivaree's excellent debut album, "I Oughtta Give You a Shot in the Head for Making Me Live in This Dump." It's okay. I'll wait. Now play track eight, I Don't Care. That song was written by Sharp. See what I mean?

You can see and hear Sharp firsthand, up-close and personal when she performs at C2G on April 17th at 7:30 p.m. The show will also include an opening set from Sunny Taylor. Tickets are $7 at the door.

Sharp's ability to write a good song was either a result of something in her genes or something in the air. Her father is Randy Sharp, a celebrated songwriter who's worked with Glen Campbell, Emmylou Harris, Marty Robbins and plenty others. She also grew up in Southern California in the 70s when Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell and Rickie Lee Jones were literally background music. By the age of 12 Sharp was trying her hand at a variety of instruments including piano, saxophone, oboe and guitar. When she reached her early twenties Sharp began playing her original songs, which could be best described as a jazz/folk hybrid, at various L.A. acoustic venues.

She soon found herself collaborating with folks like Jules Shear, Carole King and Jonathan Brooke and was approached by Ark 21 with a record deal. In 1997 Sharp released her debut album, Hardly Glamour, and later that same year was nominated for Triple-A radio's Artist of the Year. She performed with Bruce Cockburn, Vonda Shepherd and David Wilcox before releasing her second album, Tinderbox, independently.

2002 was a good year for Sharp as it saw the release of her third solo album, a self-titled release on the Concord Jazz label, as well as the Bluenote released collaboration between Art Garfunkel, Buddy Mondlock and herself, entitled, fittingly enough, Everything Waits to Be Noticed. The album introduced her to a whole new audience and was a critical favorite by year's end.

Fine Upstanding Citizen was Sharp's 2005 release and it is full of rich lyrics and bright pop songs in the fold and fashion of Shawn Colvin or Suzanne Vega. The album was co-produced by Brad Jones (Elvis Costello, Josh Rouse, Steve Earle) and features vocals and instrumentation from Will Kimbrough, Kim Richey and David Henry. The album also contains Sharp's rendition of 'A Home' which showed up a few years earlier as the title track on the Dixie Chicks' third album, Home.

Recently Sharp released Eve & the Red Delicious, a limited edition acoustic collection of seven songs recorded with bass player Darren Embry. The track list includes five new tunes and two re-worked versions of fan favorites. Sharp intends to release a full length album by year's end. It is hardly a doubt that it will contain more of the intellectual pop songs she has become noted for.

Maia Sharp
w/Sunny Taylor
Tuesday, April 17th_@ 7:30pm
Come2Go Ministries
323 West Baker Street
$7 Cover All Ages Show

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