maia sharp

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Rock On! This Week’s Sound Bites…

on August 24, 2023 No comments
By Danny Coleman

“I do, August 18,” said an excited Maia Sharp. “Reckless Thoughts” is the name of it. Reckless thoughts is a line from one of the songs. “California” is the song and it’s “Reckless thoughts and broken hearts collide.” As I was combing through all of the lyrics looking for a possible title, that one kind of leapt out at me because the reckless spot can be the thing that gets you in trouble and also the reckless thought can be the thing that leads you to where you’re supposed to go. I feel like songwriting sometimes is just a series of reckless thoughts (laughs); you know? You kind of want to let your brain be free and go somewhere that feels a little dangerous to find the next idea. So, the reckless thought isn’t always a bad thing and it felt like the double meaning of that could be worthy of the album title”

“Reckless Thoughts” is Sharp’s ninth solo album but her past songwriting has served her well as she has penned material for Trisha Yearwood, Cher, with and for Art Garfunkel as well as one of her “Inspirations,” Bonnie Raitt.  So, to understand where she started where she is now and where she is going with her music which has been called, “The culmination of a 25 year career,” let’s start at the beginning.

“Originally I’m from California, I was born in Central Valley and moved to Los Angeles when I was five and I was there my whole life until the beginning of 2019,” she explained. “So, I had over 40 years in L.A. and still feel very much a Californian even though I moved to Nashville about four years ago. Nashville is definitely a good fit, it’s a better musical fit for me and the community here is very supportive and even though I have some really close friends back in Los Angeles, there is something about the atmosphere here that just feels like a better fit for how I write and what I want to do with my music and it’s definitely the way to go.” 

One “Way to go,” was a project involving legendary vocalist and half of one of the most successful duos of all time, Art Garfunkel.

“I did a trio project with him,” she said with a laugh. Billy Mann was a mutual friend of ours and Billy had this idea that Art, Buddy Mondlock and I should work together and Art, believe it or not, had never written songs before he worked with us. He had written prose and obviously he had been a singer for years but he wasn’t a songwriter until we all got together and did our thing. That was a really cool experience; getting to write with him, sing with him, record with him, tour with him, I learned a ton.”

Prior to that moment in time, Sharp had another influencer before the term “Influencer” was popular; the aforementioned Bonnie Raitt. 

“The Bonnie Raitt experience was incredible,” she stated with reverence. “I’ve been a fan of hers pretty much my whole life and having the opportunity to meet her, hear her record my songs, then I got to record with her and then I got to go on the road with her; I opened up for her for a couple of months and then here and there since 2005. I opened for her at the end of June/ beginning of July; she has become a good friend and it’s like a dream and such a validating one too.I always felt a connection to her music and then when she chose to record my songs, she let me know that she felt a connection to mine also; that was huge. That was such a B-12 shot to my confidence too and since then, kind of anything that didn’t go right, I could tell myself, yeah but Bonnie loves me (laughs).”

“I went to college as a saxophone performance major so I got into Jazz and Blues,” she continued. “I grew up listening to Folk and Indie Rock; I like Classical, I like all kinds of music but she just happens to be really, really good at her kind of music. She’s stronger all the time, I had the unique opportunity to see her many times over the years. As a fan, I think the first time I saw her live I was maybe 15 and then I think the next time was my early twenties and then I got to open for her and see her from the wings in my thirties, forties and every time I see her, she gets impossibly stronger. I got to open for her last March and she just crushed it! How is that possible? How does she just keep getting better? She really is an inspiration. I think a lot of the key to staying that strong is literally staying healthy. After a certain age, your body doesn’t forgive you as much for the shit that you put it through (laughs). So, those that make the right choice at the crossroads; like, I can either start really weathering my body or I can stay strong into my seventies. The people who make the second choice, we get to hear it; Bonnie takes really good care of herself and you can see it and hear it on stage and it’s an inspiration.”

With music royalty such as that in her camp, certainly they must have seeped into some of her “Reckless Thoughts.” 

“The Bonnie influence is always there and probably will always be there, the Nashville influence started showing up a little more on my last record in 2021, “Mercy Rising” which is the first album I made since I moved here. It definitely showed up there a bit and it’s in the new record as well but it’s hard to say along the lines of when Nashville has influenced my writing because I’ve been coming here four or five times a year for over 20 years to write. So, even before I lived here I was trying to check-in here as often as I could because there is such a great pool of writers here. So, the influence has come in and out of my writing for a long time but yeah, since I moved here these last two albums; I think you’re definitely going to hear it. When I say a Nashville influence, it’s not necessarily Country, it’s more kind of the brand of Americana that’s strong here now.” 

“Reckless Thoughts” has been released to the masses for approximately one week; was there a strategy behind the release date?


“The album has 10 tracks and I wanted to have everything done in time and we wanted to release the three singles before the album came out. We released “Kind,” “Old Dreams” and then “She’ll Let Herself Out” and that was the radio single. I wanted to get a little ramp up and kind of get the conversation started with those which were only available digitally at first and now everything is available since August 18.” 


Maia enjoys staying busy and has multiple hot irons in the proverbial fire and with such a diverse workload; how will she go about promoting the album? 

“I’ve got some shows, probably half of August, half of September and October; I’ve never been the artist who tours 300 days a year. I like to be in town for writing sessions here, producing other artists here; I write for an organization called Songwriting With Soldiers and I do probably two or three trips a month for them. I’m an adjunct at NYU, I have private students there; I like the diversity of all of these pursuits and it has also been the key to my survival (laughs); I need to do a little bit of this and a little bit of that. So, when there is an album out I still do probably two weeks a month and I’ll be hitting a lot of the old favorite places and trying some new ones and I’m looking forward to getting out there, it has been a while. Usually, I go out like a Wednesday through Sunday and then come home a few days and then go out again and in Nashville, I can do that. When I was living in L.A, it was a pain in the ass to go out for a few days and come all the way back, go out and come all the way back and Nashville is so central that that’s really the smarter way to play it. I get a chance to come back home and breathe, restock merch or replace the cable that went bad or whatever. My headquarters is in the middle of the country now and that’s way more convenient for touring.” 


@maiasharp4543 (@maiasharpvevo3191) spoke with “Paltrocast” host Darren @paltrowitz about her new album, touring plans, writing for other artists, Nashville and more. Recorded via Zoom on July 12, 2023. Theme song by Steve Schiltz.

To discover more about Maia Sharp and “Reckless Thoughts,” please visit

Source: © Copyright New Jersey Stage

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Something to Gush About

on July 4, 2023 No comments
Mary Lee Pappas
Bonnie Raitt at Murat Theatre at Old National Centre, Indianapolis, IN – July 1, 2023 © James “Hutch” Hutchinson
Bonnie with Maia Sharp at Murat Theatre at Old National Centre, Indianapolis, IN – July 1, 2023

Maia Sharp, a musician who’s written songs for Bonnie Raitt, Cher, Edwin McCain, Art Garfunkel, Keb’Mo’ and more, opened the show as people were still finding their seats.

Thankfully, some talkers got emphatically shushed into silence, so all could, undisturbed, take in this amazing singer/songwriter armed with only her guitar.

“Junkyard Dog” and the wry “Nice Girl,” with the key lyric derived from her ex saying, “You’ll make a nice girl miserable someday,” had the crowd smiling and immersed in her love-lost storytelling. “Old Dreams” and other songs from her Reckless Thoughts album, which will be released in August, were also performed.

If you don’t know Sharp, you may’ve heard her song “Nothing But the Radio” in rotation on 92.3 WTTS. They presented the evening’s show as part of their Rock to Read Concert Series, which raises funds for children’s literacy programs through the Indianapolis Public Library. Learn more at

Bonnie Raitt is the GOAT. The blues-rock star doesn’t need a review or any clever compliments. Her praises have been sung for decades with her voice, guitar skills, and songwriting unwaveringly prodigious.

She was met with a standing ovation when she walked onto the stage. This was before she could even grab her guitar – her first of many. With a cool poise and ease in delivery, she started the show with “Made Up Mind” from her latest album from 2022, Just Like That… followed by the funky “Used to Rule the World.”

An expansive backdrop of a clouded sky dusted with sunset pinks set the mood while the Ukrainian flag rested on the drum riser. Raitt, an elegant activist, said, “We’re traveling with the Ukrainian flag,” as a reminder of the country’s plight.

On the last night of the tour before a two-month hiatus, Raitt said, “It’s like the last night of summer camp, so anything could happen.” This show was rescheduled from a May 20 postponement due to a “medical situation that required surgery to address.” her social media had relayed. Whatever the matter, she appeared unsurprisingly bionic and unconquerable. Later in the show, she humored, “I’ll be happy to be home and do my laundry.” But her uniform tour blouses (who makes them?) probably require dry cleaning. For this night, she donned a dark blue satin, three-quarter sleeve button-down shirt with sparkly pin-stripes and raspberry-fushia turned-back cocktail cuffs – a shirt made for guitar playing.

Truly a badass, her voice was mesmerizingly perfect in person. She pulled from her heart to relay every lyric in her timeless songs. Interacting with the audience, she had a quip for any banter—a pro. The sound quality was exceptional, and the depth of synergy among the band was brilliant, pushing the escapist experience of witnessing this legend live. The band is la crème de la crème: Hutch Hutchinson, her bassist of 30 years; Ricky Fataar of The Rutles fame and a Beach Boy for a stint in the early 70s on drums; the soulful Glenn Patscha on keys: and the famed Duke Levine on guitar. Tight and meticulous.

“No Business” from the “Luck of the Draw” 1991 album was up next, giving fans the treat of witnessing her slide guitar mastery. She then praised her team, saying, “I love my band, and I love this crew…thank you for a great tour,” before launching into “Blame It On Me” off the new album. Before Patscha could lay out the soulful, moody intro on the Hammond, Raitt said, “I’ve got to get pissed off to sing this.” Naturally, it was one of her many love and heartache songs making attendees teary-eyed. “Nick of Time” from her 1989 breakthrough album of the same title roused this retiree-aged crowd enough to clap along and cry a little more. Guitar number four came out for the melancholy “Just like that,” then a lively “Something to Talk About.” Accolades to the uninhibited: a woman with a close-up orchestra seat on the right side who got up and danced, and the guy to the far left about seven rows back who grooved in the aisle for the whole show.

It was great to hear hits like “Love Letter,” “Love Sneakin’ Up on You,” and “Have a Heart” that had people singing along. An intangible, graceful performance of John Prine’s “Angel of Montgomery” with Raitt welcoming “My sister, Maia Sharp,” to the stage to accompany her was an entrancing highlight. Raitt exclaimed, “Thank you for this song,” among her many praises of Prine, and added of Sharp, “One of the finest we’ve got.”

The only peculiar aspect of the evening was the audience. With iconic songs ingrained into Americana like “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” how was the crowd not more diverse? Considering her collaborations, and her style, it made no sense. Does her music reach younger audiences? Was my 48-year-old Raitt devotee friend the youngest person in the crowd? OK, staff circling the aisles with their green lights, ensuring no one was sneaking pics or recording, was a bit annoying, but whatever.

Among her three-song encore was a heart-wrenching rendition of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” that, no matter how many times it’s been covered or by whichever greats, it’s Raitt’s emotive embodiment of the lyrics, the story of unrequited love that feels like she’s as the Roberta Flack song goes, “Killing me softly.” Another unforgettable moment in a most remarkable show. Every aspect of this concert would leave anyone awestruck. Seeing Raitt live should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Source: © Copyright NUVO

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Bonnie Raitt pulls out all the stops for Saenger show

on October 27, 2012 No comments
By Lawrence Specker |

MOBILE, Alabama — “I’m emotionally a mess,” Bonnie Raitt told a packed house Friday night at the Mobile Saenger Theatre. “I just don’t want this tour to end.”

They could sympathize. To judge from their energetic appreciation throughout the show, most of them didn’t even want the night to end. And why would they? Mess or not, Raitt seemed to have all the blessings a musician could ask for, and a desire to share them freely.

The tone and expressiveness of her slide guitar work would be the envy of any six-string gunslinger. Her voice, likewise, had the all the purity in person that her recordings have promised. She had an awesome backing band, and, 41 years after the release of her first album, exuded an energy that showed she wasn’t blowing smoke when she said she was having a great time.

Even opener Maia Sharp had to refer to her as “my absurdly talented buddy.”

Sharp herself got the night off to a good start, engaging the audience with a conversational approach to her well-crafted songs. She drew applause with a comment that her trio, featuring guitarist Linda Taylor and cellist Vanessa Freebairn-Smith, was there to prove that “you don’t need a bass player or a drummer or even a guy.”

But it does help to have absurdly talented friends with big, big, voices, and Raitt drew the first standing ovation of the night just by walking out to join Sharp for “I Don’t Want Anything to Change.”

“That’s the hottest thing ever,” Sharp said after Raitt’s greeting. “I have Bonnie Raitt’s lipstick on my cheek.”

The friendly spirit would last through the evening, with Sharp returning several times during Raitt’s set to play sax or sing harmony. A particular standout was “Angel From Montgomery,” which Raitt opened with an a cappella verse, freshening up a familiar, beloved song before her band and Sharp joined in.

Raitt kept up the conversational feel of the night, saying early on that “it’s Halloween week. Anything can happen,” and adding later that because the tour was nearly over, “we’re going to be pulling out all kinds of things.” They did, too, ranging all the way back to that first album for the John Beach/Sippie Wallace song “Women Be Wise,” covering the late-‘90s Bob Dylan song “Million Miles,” and tipping her hat to Denise LaSalle with “A Man Sized Job.”

She praised Mobile’s character, saying she’d sampled a little of it while biking around downtown earlier in the day, and more than once praised the acoustics of “this gorgeous theater.”

That theater was filled to the rafters, the first time in a long time that’s happened for a pop show, and even the star wasn’t taking that for granted. “I’m really glad we sold this puppy out in this economy,” Raitt said. “Thank you so much.”

Raitt has a history as a social activist, and she didn’t let the looming presidential vote go unremarked. “I know it’s an auction this year instead of an election. Something’s got to change,” she remarked at one point. Later, on a more upbeat note, she urged her listeners, “Don’t forget to vote, don’t forget to vote, don’t give up.”

Otherwise, Raitt kept her comments mostly to musical matters, mixing hits such as “Thing Called Love” and “Something to Talk About” with surprises and fan favorites, and capping a 90-minute set with a big four-song encore.

Her fans stuck with her through every turn. Even for the biggest stars, audiences sometimes erode as the hour grows late and the desire to hear the last note gives way to the urge to beat the rush. But this night saw remarkably few defections as the end drew near.

There was no mystery about it. In introducing “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” Raitt had remarked that Adele’s version of the song had brought her some new listeners. Then she gave an emotional reading of the song that showed, once again, just how good she is at making people love her.

It’s possible to see display of talent and still come away feeling like nothing has actually been shared. The hallmark of Raitt’s show was her generosity, and her willingness to make clear that appreciation is a two-way street.

“I can’t tell you what it means to me to have this loyalty,” she said, near the end of the evening.

She didn’t have to: She spent the whole performance showing it.

Source: © Copyright Advance Local

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