JPR Live Session: Maia Sharp (2016)

Feb 26, 2016

Maia Sharp wears many hats. In a career that spans two decades, the California native has established a reputation as a songwriter's songwriter, possessing a seamless sense of craft as well as an uncanny knack for cutting straight to the heart of complex emotional issues. In the process, she's won a passionate grass-roots fan base, while seeing her compositions covered by artists from across the musical spectrum.

Among the artists who've recorded Sharp's compositions are Bonnie Raitt, Cher, the Dixie Chicks, Crystal Bowersox, Keb' Mo', Lisa Loeb, Trisha Yearwood, Jessie Baylin, Paul Carrack, Terri Clark, Kathy Mattea, Edwin McCain, Lizz Wright, Kim Richey, Joey Ryan, Mindy Smith and David Wilcox. She's also spread her wings as a producer, overseeing recordings by Bowersox, McCain and Art Garfunkel.

Through it all, Maia has continued to record her own albums. She has six solo releases and one collaborative project with Art Garfunkel and Buddy Mondlock that have all been critically acclaimed and enthusiastically embraced by press and radio. Each release has led to extensive touring throughout the US and UK and appearances on Mountain Stage, Acoustic Cafe, World Cafe, NPR's "All Things Considered," CBS Early Morning and the Today Show to name a few. Her latest album The Dash Between the Dates (eOne) is available now everywhere including Amazon and iTunes.

"It's not a concept album," Sharp says, "but I was trying to look at things with a wider-angle lens and bring more breadth to the songs without sacrificing the intimacy. Maybe that's the concept." Sharp co-produced the album with multi-instrumentalist and longtime collaborator Linda Taylor. In addition to Sharp's vocals, guitar, keyboards and saxophone, and Taylor's guitars, bass, keys and programming, The Dash Between the Dates features notable contributions from Eurythmics co-founder Dave Stewart, who co-wrote and plays guitar on "Maybe Tonight"; acclaimed solo artist Lizz Wright, whose distinctive tones enrich "You Know Where I'll Be" and "I Don't Want Anything to Change"; singer-songwriter Gabe Dixon, who sings on "Underneath"; legendary vocalist Arnold McCuller, who adds his voice to "Nothing But the Radio," "Phoenix" and "Real Love." "I love being on a team, and there's no better ego boost than when people you admire want to be part of your team," Sharp asserts. "Getting that kind of validation is like a B-12 shot to the soul, and it was definitely a big highlight of making this album."