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A Warm, Cool, Buzzy, Insinuating 'Good Start'

Maria Taylor, known for her work with Bright Eyes and Azure Ray, seems on the verge of a breakthrough.
Maria Taylor, known for her work with Bright Eyes and Azure Ray, seems on the verge of a breakthrough.

Many of the offerings from the Saddle Creek label, fiefdom of folk-rock behemoth Bright Eyes, appear to be made by and for depressive English majors. But singer-songwriter Maria Taylor, sometime member of Bright Eyes (as well as labelmates Azure Ray and Now It's Overhead), stands as the label's brightest new hope, and not coincidentally one of its least chilly performers.

If Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst is the Bob Dylan of Saddle Creek, Taylor is its Joan Baez, if Baez had a fondness for Farfisa organs and spontaneous rapping. Taylor's solo career hasn't broken through beyond sleeper status, but Lynn Teeter Flower, her second solo disc, feels like a breakthrough.

"A Good Start" goes heavy on keyboards and drums, its layered vocals wrapped around an ersatz Zen meditation: "You're one with the burden of intuition / You're one with the freedom of a blank stare / You're one with the best friend you lost you wish was still there." Grounded in gentle-natured '70s folk and buzzy mid-'90s electronica, with two insinuating choruses, it's both the warmest and the coolest thing to emerge from Taylor's scene in a long time.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

This column originally ran on Mar. 14, 2007.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Allison L. Stewart
Allison Stewart is a writer living in New York. It's entirely possible to see her work in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, No Depression, Rolling Stone or any number of other places. Or to miss it entirely, which is just as likely.