Saddle Creek | Azure Ray | Reviews


As Above So Below

Author: John Diliberto
10/25/2012 | Echoes | | Feature
In another time, Maria Taylor and Orenda Fink could've been conventional singer songwriters plucking guitars, but since their debut album as Azure Ray in 2001, there's always been a richness to their arrangements that perfectly matched the wrap-around harmonies of their voices.

"We're feminists, so we can never just be chicks with guitars," says Maria Taylor with her electric guitar slung around her neck. "We've gotta always you know, push ourselves to way more than that.

"Singing with just acoustic guitars would just I think be a little limiting to the way our songs can ultimately end up being," chimes in Orenda Fink, also adorned by an electric guitar.

Azure Ray occupy the serene side of alternative rock. In fact, you might say that they are mavens of melancholy with songs full of abandonment, yearning, and regrets. nothing expresses that more than "November," possibly one of the saddest songs ever.

Although it sounds like a hymn of heartbreak, its source is more poignant.

"Well it's actually really sad and tragic," reveals Taylor. "My boyfriend at the time passed away, so I was kind of in that state for a while and yeah, this was just therapy for me and for all of us because we were all close to him."

It's a song that is often interpreted as hymn of heartbreak and can bring an audience to tears.

"I've seen it, yeah," says Taylor.

Maria Taylor And Orenda Fink met in school in Birmingham, Alabama and they probably don't look much different in their mid-30s than they did in their teens. Both have long brown hair and are so petite that their guitars are almost bigger than they are. they started out in a rock band called Little Red Rocket who released two albums on a major label in the late 1990s. You might wonder how they got from this exuberant, driving rock sound to the painfully introspective and contemplative music of Azure Ray.

"I think it was really when we played a memorial show," recalls Taylor. "We wrote these songs that were therapeutic for us when my boyfriend passed away. And one of our friends just said you know, you guys should play them and we'll have everyone get together and it'll feel great. And I think that was the pivotal moment where we just realized that we really love playing songs that meant so much to us and were from the heart. And you know, it wasn't necessarily about just getting drunk and you know, rocking out like Little Red Rocket was. It was cathartic for us and it seems like for other people."
As Above So Below

As Above So Below

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