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Maia Sharp

Coming into her own

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By Lynne Margolis  
artist

Some artists write fluke hits. Maia Sharp isn't one of them. Even if she and her father, country writer Randy Sharp, hadn't authored the title track to the Dixie Chicks' mega-selling, Grammy-winning album Home, she would deserve props as an artist whose work is never less than top-notch, never strident, coy or cloying.

Sharp's music is intelligent, without compromising tunefulness and emotion. On her own Fine Upstanding Citizen, she collaborates with some of the best names in the business, including Kim Richey, Steve Poltz, Imani Coppola and guitarist Will Kimbrough, and turns out an impeccable batch of stirring, thought-provoking, soulful creations. Exhibit No. 1 would be the opening cut, "Red Dress"; another is the quirky title song. Her rendition of "A Home" is gorgeous, her soprano soaring over producer Brad Jones' mandolin.

Sharp knows how to write sweet love lyrics, as in her metaphor-filled "Regular Jane," and also knows how to bite, sometimes hard, as in "The Reminder," with its lyric, "Get ready for the riot act you so deserve to hear/you made lies of all your promises/then you disappeared." Bonnie Raitt has gone on record calling this "a brilliant album, start to finish," and her support is clearly on target.

Veteran journalist Lynn Margolis writes about music from Austin, Texas. Her articles have appeared widely in such publications as The Austin American-Statesman, Texas Music, RollingStone.com, and the RIAA's Grammy magazine.