Maria Taylor album review: ‘Something About Knowing’

Kelly Steffey - Maria Taylor will be performing in the Washington, DC area.


“Something About Knowing”

Kindred spirits: Carole King, Bright Eyes, Sarah McLachlan

Show: With PJ Bond on Sunday at the Rock & Roll Hotel. Show starts at 8 p.m. 202-388-7625. $12 in advance, $14 at the door.

“I got everything,” Maria Taylor sings on the title song of her charming new album, “Something About Knowing.” Everything, it turns out, includes a dog, a Beatles record, her trademark five-string guitar and, above all, hearing “the sweetest voice call me mommy.” The Azure Ray member’s fifth solo album is her first since becoming a mother.

Not surprisingly, “Something About Knowing” finds the Alabama-bred singer-songwriter in a contented mood and domestic mode. No points for guessing that the set’s final song is a lullaby. But the bedtime ballad includes a synthesized thump that’s not designed to put baby to sleep, and that’s just one of several elements on the album that flirt with raucousness. Thoughts of Taylor’s son are never far away, though. “Up All Night” is an uptempo shuffle with a blues-rock edge, but it’s not about hitting the bars.

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Electrobeats and electric guitars flavor the arrangements, but the songs retain their essential country-folk character. Memorable vocal melodies and involving harmonies define the songs, whether they’re homespun (“Folk Song Melody”), gently trippy (“Sum of Our Lives”) or exuberantly communal (“Tunnel Vision”).

Taylor may have been up all night while writing these tunes, but her musical invention doesn’t sound exhausted.

— Mark Jenkins

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