The melodic sighs on her recordings seem to be the only breaths Maria Taylor has the time to take. Though often referred to as half of the duo Azure Ray, Maria’s course was charted well before that – from her childhood home in Birmingham, which her father, a musician, equipped with a studio. Some things a person just knows, and for Maria, being a musician was never really a question. At age 15, as a student at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, Maria met classmate Orenda Fink. The two formed Little Red Rocket, a rock/pop group that drew comparisons to Lush and Belly, as well as the attention of Tim/Kerr Records, who issued the band’s 1997 debut, Who Did You Pay. By the time they’d released their second and final full-length, 2000’s It’s in the Sound (Monolyth),
Little Red Rocket had signed to Geffen, been released from contract in the Universal Music Group merger, and had relocated to the musical Mecca of Athens, Georgia. It was in Athens that the group disbanded, with Maria and Orenda continuing on together both as Azure Ray and as 2/4’s of the Saddle Creek band Now It’s Overhead. Just a year following the final Little Red Rocket album, both of Maria’s new bands were already releasing their self-titled debuts (Azure Ray’s on Warm Recordings and Now It’s Overhead’s on Saddle Creek). 2002 was no less hectic, with Maria and Orenda relocating from Athens to Omaha and releasing Burn and Shiver for Warm and the November EP for Saddle Creek. Their third full-length, 2003’s Hold on Love, was Azure Ray’s first for Saddle Creek, and was bolstered by two singles, The Drinks We Drank Last Night and New Resolution. While the band’s non-stop touring schedule and their move to Omaha made collaborating with the Athens- based Now It’s Overhead a long distance affair, the four-piece released Fall Back Open for Saddle Creek in 2004. Azure Ray and Now It’s Overhead aside, Maria’s luminous vocals and multi- instrumentalist talents have seen her name attached to an impressive roster of musicians.