Sophisticated yet understated, Maia Sharp's songs hark back to the '70s, when pop music was made by adults. Like Aimee Mann crossed with Sheryl Crow, Sharp combines a rootsy, acoustic guitar-driven approach with arrangements that stop just short of baroque pop. Sharp has an earthy quality that blends nicely with the smoky, urbane atmospheres of her music. She's the daughter of country songwriter Randy Sharp (Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton) and has had her own songs performed by Cher and Paul Carrack, among others, but singing success has been slower in coming.
Her third album, last year's Fine Upstanding Citizen, was a leap forward that brought her talent into sharper focus, especially on songs such as "Red Dress," where she sings, "Inside I'm still the problem child that I always was/So I guess I win." She's currently supporting a seven-song, limited-edition acoustic EP, which includes "Red Dress" and several terrific new songs (including "Whole Flat World"). Next year, look for a studio full-length.