Not to go into too much detail, but this critic has a habit of falling rather uncontrollably for coy, lilting female singer-songwriters. If they are sometime members of Bright Eyes, all the better. Maria Taylor is enchanting.
Her album Lynn Teeter Flower has pretty much passed under the critical radar, and the Metro Club was barely half full for this one-off show. This is a curious thing, as fans of Martha Wainwright, Joan As Police Woman and perhaps Beth Orton would appreciate the lo-fi Americana-rock of this diminutive, tattooed nymph.
With a band consisting of both her brother and sister, against the odds of a small crowd and chattering plebeians at the bar, she ploughed through material from both Lynn Teeter Flower and her first album, 11:11. Unfortunately, a few sound glitches held up the early songs, this perhaps a venue unused to accommodating soft voices fronting a 5-piece electric rock band. Therefore, the dulcet tones that subtly decorated Bright Eyes’ Cassadaga were a bit lost amid the cacophony of noise. Indeed, the presence of such a large ensemble did little to allow the melodic and heartfelt loveliness of Lynn Teeter Flower to be fully conveyed.
Perhaps her live performance would benefit from, ahem, being stripped down. That said, her band were very accomplished indeed, and in a bigger venue with a better sound system, would wow people. Few of those unfamiliar with Maria (here perhaps for the four acts that proceeded her) would have left this show particularly wowed. Better days should be ahead for her.
Clean Getaway, the album’s most heartbreaking track, was one that lacked in romantic spirit, due to no fault of her own. Greater success came when she performed the more textured numbers, such as A Good Start, which morphed into a medley at the end of the night, an evidently startled Maria having to rush to finish the set having been told by humourless Metro stooges of a curfew. Clearly, this is not the way they do things in Birmingham, Alabama. Its a shame London couldn’t keep up with her.
Small Part Of Me, another of Lynn Teeter Flower’s mini-masterpieces had no business being ignored by the unknowing hooligans sipping Red Stripe. A few devotees stood at front of stage singing along, suggesting she does have a fan-base of sorts, but it comes to something when you are this talented and can’t even muster a cult following.