Maia Sharp: No Need to Change The Ending
Adrienne Gonzalez’ vocal work on the opening cut, “Me After You” is something else.
I love her voice – we kind of stimulate each other’s vocals.
Had you sung with her before?
We wrote “Sober” a long time ago, which is also on this album. I actually produced an earlier version for Edwin McCain. I think that was the first song Adrienne and I wrote together.
Since then we’ve written a few more – the most recent being “Me After You” that you mentioned. She put a version of “Me After You” on her own album – a completely different version that’s totally 180 degrees away … but really, really cool.
So the album was actually recorded where?
I tracked it in three days at a place called The Lair in L.A. The drums, bass, electric guitar, horns, a couple of overdubs … anything where I wanted to have a big room with a lot of air in it I did it at The Lair.
Then I took it back to my place, where I was off the clock, Then I could do strings; tons of acoustic and electric guitar overdubs; all the vocals … that all happened at my place.
And you have a studio?
It’s just a big room – 20’ x 20’ … just enough for a one-woman show. It’s the rehearsal room, the writing room, and the overdub room. I wouldn’t track a band in there.
Was there any song on Change The Ending that started out in one mood and ended up somewhere totally different?
Actually, the title song started out as an ode to the 1970s; like something that you might have heard on a Jackson Browne album back then. There’s even a David Lindley-style steel guitar in there. It came out great and I was really happy with it … but if it was going to be a single, it needed to be more like the demo – up and bouncy and driving. That’s what we recut for the album.
And the original version is the iTunes bonus?
That’s right – and hopefully it’ll be incentive for people to buy the whole album and get that version of it.
But, yeah – that was basically starting over with two complete productions on a song – I’d never done that before.
You mentioned the steel guitar on that version – who played it?
Oh, boy …
Yeah – he killed it. He’s such a sweet guy. So quiet and so nice … then he plugs that thing in and – wow! It’s like he doesn’t have to have an attitude; he plays with it.
Why did you choose the older songs that you did for this album?
“The Bed I Made” was one that I’ve been wanting to put on a record for a while, actually. It was originally scheduled to be on Fine Upstanding Citizen. At the time, Bonnie said she was interested in it and very politely – didn’t insist, just very politely asked if I minded if she was the first to put it out. I’ve never said “No” to Bonnie Raitt and I never intend to. (laughter) Of course I didn’t mind. And she put it on Souls Alike.
“The Bed I Made” really works on this record, which has a little more of a nod to my … not jazz _roots _ – I don’t have jazz roots … jazz phase. (laughter)
I went through a jazz phase and then I got out of it, but every now and then …
You can say what you want, but I don’t think you’re ever really out of it. (laughter)
Well … there’s just a couple jazzier numbers. Maybe “Stepping Stone”; maybe “The Bed I Made”; and then the remix of “Buy My Love” … that was so fun.
There – see? There’s your inner jazz self, right there. (laughter)
You know how it is – so many times a remix of a song goes totally the other way: electronica; special producer with a hundred tracks … I wanted to take it completely in the opposite direction: break it down and play a little horn …
Yeah … the cool beat jazzsters – right down to the goofy nicknames everyone has in the credits.
There are stories behind each of those, but some of them are kind of dark … (laughs) I don’t know how family-friendly they are. (laughter)
Promise me something
Promise me you’re going to do a jazz album – an instrumental album … I want to hear you play that horn some more.
(laughs) You know, we were talking about it.
Well … (laughs)
When you first finish an album – before you do any of the marketing, promotion, or any of the touring, it’s easy to have this big plan for what the next album is going to be, you know? (laughs) But yeah, when this album was done, Bill [Bill Straw of Blix Street Records] and I said, “Okay, let’s do instrumental versions of this whole album – it’ll be like a sidecar.”
It would’ve been a blast … and inexpensive. You really just get a bunch of friends together that you love and trust – and you just roll. It’s live – you either got it or you didn’t. So the production of it would all be the sonic choices – not a lot of overdubbing.
But now there’s work to do. I’m feeling like I owe this album a good year or two of trying to let everybody know about it. So if I’m out on the road, it might be while before there’s another album – which I think is only fair to this one.
I hear you. But maybe at least an EP of jazz tunes?
I’ll tell you what: you tell me which ones should be on it and I’ll talk to Bill about it.
Fair enough. (laughter)