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Following two solo albums for the Saddle Creek label, 11:11 (2005, featuring vocal contributions from Conor Oberst), and Lynn Teeter Flower (2007), LadyLuck sees Maria Taylor working with her regular collaborator Andy LeMaster as well as a new one, Michael Stipe of R.E.M., both of whom have co-writes on the song Cartoons and Forever Plans, to which Stipe also adds backing vocals. On an album of many highlights, Time Lapse Lifetime boasts orchestral strings and grand melody and describes how fast life moves and how in a moment everything can change, while LadyLuck is an alt-folk gem in the vein of Cat Stevens or Vashti Bunyan, with swelling melodies of lively acoustic guitar, trembling tambourine and airy flute, peppered with Taylor's whispered "doot doot." Meanwhile, My Favourite Love and Broad Daylight both convey an air of Parisian romance, with echoes of mid-60's Francoise Hardy in both vocal delivery and string arrangement.
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Ok, ok... on to the point... Ladyluck. I love it. It played in my car for more than a month... I'd only change the cd for fear that I'd tire of it. It was still the main album I listened to ... and still do.
I was a bit apprehensive that the not so stripped down versions of 'Ladyluck' and 'Time Lapse Lifeline' from SDrive would easily outdo the more "produced" versions on Ladyluck. The Ladyluck versions equal if not grandly outdo Drive's versions.
Ladyluck - My least favorite from Savannah, but I somehow know most of the words to this one. Sounds reminiscent and hopeful. I love the lines about "Doesn't always work the way you planned it... I like it better this way."
Time Lapse Lifeline - Most guitar driven track with a nice groove. Possibly my favorite of the album. "Back it up. Back it up. Stop. Fast forward. Rewind."
It's Time - Very driving until a break for the chorus, great for driving through fields. Unique drum patterns. Love it.
My Favorite Love - A darker tone than previously. You might confuse this one for another artist if Maria's voice wasn't so distinguished. Almost as if it came from some of the best parts of another era's music.
100,000 Times - This one is up there on favorites as well. Heightens the album's feeling of 'moving on to better things, but not forgetting the past' vibe. Great to crank the volume on the chorus.
Green Butterflies - Another great one for the fields.
Broad Daylight - Maria takes you back to that other time.
A Chance - Has a slight disco feel... My least favorite of the album.
Orchid - Great guitar parts in the last quarter. This one makes use of one of Maria's greatest musical attributes... Making a song sound joyous and somber at the same time. It has a different effect depending on the listener's mood and circumstance. Masterful.
Cartoons and Forever Plans - Co written with Michael Stipe from R.E.M and Andy LeMaster from Now It's Overhead. Slight island-esque beat. The perfect way to end it: with love and happiness through a repeat of "Did you know..." almost every line. Maria and her crew make each repetition take on its one delicious flavor. Favorite lyric: "Electricity favors us."
Maria Taylor has achieved a near perfect (my favorite) album with Ladyluck. The 'Lady's' combination of hope, excitement, and yearning for the future combined with a somehow happy ache mixes in with its impossible to define genre; making it a treasure for people of varying musical tastes. Many friends have inquired about the artist playing in my car continuously. The `Lady" has even inspired me to pick up my guitar quite often.
Congratulations Ms Taylor! (GGM)
The songs flow together with mystical synchronicity. Background vocals, harmonies and instrumentation are present, as well as absent, with great balance. Lyrics are clever and mature. No doubt commitment, intention, and attention were sown into this record. Its bounty is Love.
The production on LadyLuck sounds to me a bit like Pierre Marchand's work with Sarah McLachlan. Interestingly, Maria Taylor is signed with Nettwerk; however as far as I could research, Marchand was not credited on this record co-produced by Andy LeMaster, Mike Mogis and Lukas Burto. It seems clear to me why fellow muse Michael Stipe offered to lend a hand on some of the lyrics and background vocals. I hope more people hear this record and share LadyLuck with a friend.
The first time I heard Maria Taylor was on a Pandora station I created from a Gillian Welch artist station. I listened to Maria's entire record for free in high quality on Imeem. [...]. This is a great way to break real talent. The Internet, used wisely. And just like that it's done.
Wanna see her? Check out Morning Becomes Eclectic and search for her- it was May 12th if I recall. Good show. Don't pass up the album though and get to see her when she comes back to the US.