Maia Sharp Anna Haas photo

This week’s interviewee is singer/songwriter Maia Sharp, who will be coming to One Longfellow Square on Saturday, Aug. 26.

She’ll be supporting her latest solo album, “Reckless Thoughts,” which is scheduled for release on Friday. This is my first encounter with this talented artist and, after listening to an advance copy of her ninth solo offering, which she produced, I was ready to discover more about Sharp’s craft of creating songs that can impact the listener in many ways.

When I called at the appointed time I was expecting to catch her at home in Nashville but instead discovered that she was in her car heading back home. Once we confirmed that a mobile conversation was going to work, I began by commenting on that aforementioned CD.

Q: Your newest album is a wonderful release highlighted by your distinctive voice and, after doing this for over 50 years, I can honestly say that it is decidedly your own.
Sharp: Thank you.

Q: And the thing of it is that it’s warm, it’s inviting, it exudes confidence and honesty, as well. It’s … (pause) … writer lost for words, film at 11.
Sharp: Thank you for saying those words; I mean it doesn’t sound like you’re at a loss to me because those are exactly the things that I’m shooting for, so that it landed with you like that means that something’s working. I think that the “confidence” part and even the warmth in the lower register choices, in my perspective, that’s fairly recent, like that’s only the last two or three albums where I’ve felt no conflict at all in choosing the lower key and singing it there where it’s really comfortable; and things like more confidence showed up when I started making those choices (chuckle). So, yeah, I do appreciate you saying that.

Q: Well, it is, as I stated earlier, very inviting and that’s a quality that kept me listening to the entire album over and over and over again; and each time I hear it there are little nuances that pop out at me causing me to go, “Oh, I didn’t hear that before.”
Sharp: Oh, nice!


Q: And it’s a very easy listen, too, with enough variety to keep it interesting no matter how many times you hear it. I hate an album where every song sounds the same, that just doesn’t make it, as far as I’m concerned.
Sharp: Right, yeah, well, I do enjoy the art of the process.

Q: How so?
Sharp: Like right after the tracking when I bring the drums, bass and electric guitar tracks. I take it back to my room and I edit and add the final parts, piano, Wurlitzer, maybe the mellotron, and then I try to build the conversation between all of those instruments. So when you say that you hear something different every time, that’s another win for me because I’m trying to create a painting where there are new things popping up everywhere, and I sit with that part of the process for a long time, probably longer than I could afford to do it if I was in anybody else’s studio, just for that experience. I’m a big nerd because I really enjoy that part.

Q: I can relate to that, as well. Now, do you get up to Maine a lot?
Sharp: Not often enough, I love it up there. I try to get up to Portland once a year but if I’m lucky I’ll get up there twice a year, so I’m really looking forward to that show in August at One Longfellow.

Q: That is a perfect venue for you and what you do.
Sharp: Yeah, I love it, I’ve played there a bunch of times.

Q: Now is this show a solo performance or will you have some backing musicians?
Sharp: It’s solo acoustic, the guitar, a porch-board stomp and me.

Q: What was that last part?
Sharp: Ah, it’s called a Porchboard but I just added on “stomp” so you’d have an idea what it is (chuckle). It’s two pieces of wood that has just enough electronics in it so, when I step on it, it sounds like a kick drum and it sounds amazing; it just doesn’t sound like a kick drum, it sounds like an (expletive) great kick drum, and it’s not floppy, it’s like a heartbeat, it’s really great. I’m kind of amazed that more people don’t have them because it’s so easy to take around, if I was a drummer I wouldn’t even bother with a kick drum again, a big old, bulky, rattle-y kick drum, when you could just have a Porchboard.


Q: Another quality of what you do is the fact that your lyrics are very impactful, it seems to me to be rather cathartic. Was it that way for you when you were writing it?
Sharp: Absolutely, I mean, writing often is, right? To me, it’s a way to communicate; when I first fell in love with music, which was at a very young age, it was because I felt understood by a certain song. (Pause.) I mean, even if a song isn’t saying your story exactly, even if the specifics aren’t exactly you, you can feel a kinship to a song, to an album, to an artist and I felt that so early on and felt like maybe I wasn’t on the outside looking in, and everything. So now, when I’m creating it, it feels like I’m throwing out a line, ya know?

Q: Yeah, I do.
Sharp: And people are responding. It should have been so predictable but as soon as I started writing from the true life experiences again, like I did when I first started writing years ago, I feel like I got more response. I feel like people were reviewing it in exactly the ways I wanted it to be heard, like you did at the beginning of this call (laughter). I mean, it wasn’t about chart position, or sales numbers, which aren’t even a thing anymore, but it’s about the connection and that is so satisfying.

Q: Is there anything, Maia, that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article?
Sharp: Well, you have that the album is coming out on Aug. 18, right?

Q: Yeah.
Sharp: I’m just looking forward to getting back and that the last single, “She’ll Let Herself Out,” is out now. So I have three singles out there now: “Kind,” “Old Dreams,” and “She’ll Let Herself Out” are all available for download and streaming.

Lucky Clark, a 2018 “Keeping the Blues Alive” Award winner, has spent more than 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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