Maria Taylor: Tiny Desk Concert It's clear from this Tiny Desk Concert that Maria Taylor has never made a go of it as a busker: In terms of volume, she's closer to a whisper than a scream. But hers is a wonderfully warm presence.

Tiny Desk

Maria Taylor

The Omaha-based folk-pop duo Azure Ray was built around the tension between its two very different halves: the playful experimentation of Orenda Fink and the straight-to-the-heart melancholy of Maria Taylor. Ever since Azure Ray went on hiatus in 2004, Fink and Taylor have released solo records and side projects — Fink popped up as half of O+S earlier this year, while both have performed in Now It's Overhead and Bright Eyes — that play to their respective strengths. In the case of Taylor, that's meant three terrific albums (11:11, Lynn Teeter Flower and the new LadyLuck) that bleed wistful beauty.

Azure Ray just announced a short reunion tour, with an album on the way thereafter, so it's a good time to revel in the quiet, sweet sadness of Taylor's solo side. It's clear from this Tiny Desk Concert, recorded without amplification at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen while Bob was on vacation, that Taylor has never made a go of it as a busker: In terms of volume, she's closer to Laura Gibson than Tom Jones. But hers is a wonderfully warm presence, and the setting brings out her songs' winsome essence.

This three-song set features a pair of highlights of LadyLuck — the title track and the first single, "Time Lapse Lifeline" — before closing with a devastating song from Lynn Teeter Flower. Given a spare acoustic reading, "Clean Getaway" closes the set on a tender, reflective note. Amplification wouldn't have done it justice.

Set List
  • "LadyLuck"
  • "Time Lapse Lifeline"
  • "Clean Getaway"
Credits

Production by Bob Boilen and Frannie Kelley

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Tyler Childers performs a Tiny Desk Concert on March 8, 2018 (Eslah Attar/NPR). Eslah Attar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Eslah Attar/NPR

Tyler Childers

Tyler Childers writes songs about hard lives and hard love with direct heart and a soulful Kentucky drawl.

The Nate Smith Band performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Sept. 14, 2017. (Christina Ascani/NPR) Christina Ascani/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Christina Ascani/NPR

Review

Tiny Desk

Nate Smith + KINFOLK

The drums take center stage at this Tiny Desk. Watch veteran jazz percussionist Nate Smith dazzle the NPR audience in a transfixing performance.

Jason Isbell performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 30, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Jason Isbell

The Alabama singer-songwriter and his band perform three songs from The Nashville Sound, but their set includes a few surprises, too.

ALA.NI performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 20, 2017. (Photo: Liam James Doyle/NPR) Liam James Doyle/NPR/NRR hide caption

toggle caption Liam James Doyle/NPR/NRR

ALA.NI

ALA.NI captures and conveys a reverent love of early-20th-century music, while injecting those sounds with charisma and charm well suited for any era.

Maggie Rogers performs a Tiny Desk concert at NPR headquarters. Liam James Doyle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Liam James Doyle/NPR

Maggie Rogers

The rising pop star performs three of her best-known songs, including a sweet solo take on her career-making "Alaska."

Aldous Harding performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 6, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Aldous Harding

Intensity in songs often expresses itself as volume – a loud guitar, a scream, a piercing synth line. But in the case of Aldous Harding it's in the spaces, the pauses, and her unique delivery.

James Mercer of The Shins performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 19, 2017. (Liam James Doyle/NPR) Liam James Doyle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Liam James Doyle/NPR

The Shins

James Mercer, the emotional and creative heart of The Shins, gives a moving performance at the Tiny Desk, with two new songs and a classic from the band's 2003 album Chutes Too Narrow.

Albin Lee Meldau performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 12, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Albin Lee Meldau

Albin Lee Meldau possesses a thunderous, deeply affecting voice, which he uses to tell some utterly dark, but demonstrably cathartic, tales.

Rare Essence performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 9, 2017. (Liam James Doyle/NPR) Liam James Doyle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Liam James Doyle/NPR

Rare Essence

Rare Essence has been bringing go-go to the world since 1976 — the group brought that pedigree, and the genre's massive meld of funk, rhythm and blues and soul, to this raucous hometown Tiny Desk.

Tuxedo performs a Tiny Desk Concert on May 20th, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tuxedo

Tuxedo, the unlikely-on-paper funk-soul duo of Mayer Hawthorne and Jake One, brought a left-of-center sonic approach and a sharp sense of style to their Tiny Desk Concert.

Back To Top