Maiysha - UnderCover: Live from New York

Maiysha
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A power belter and full-figured Ford model touted by Time and Newsweek as the next big thing, Maiysha was rightly celebrated in 2008. Unfortunately, the hype didn't have the ground support to sustain the boast and the artistically strong soul/rock hybrid album, This Much Is True, fizzled with limited commercial impact. Recognizing crucial career steps were skipped, the Brooklyn based singer/songwriter went back to the local clubs and on the road to build her fan base and gain the support she needed to reclaim the spotlight-one show at a time.

A power belter and full-figured Ford model touted by Time and Newsweek as the next big thing, Maiysha was rightly celebrated in 2008. Unfortunately, the hype didn't have the ground support to sustain the boast and the artistically strong soul/rock hybrid album, This Much Is True, fizzled with limited commercial impact. Recognizing crucial career steps were skipped, the Brooklyn based singer/songwriter went back to the local clubs and on the road to build her fan base and gain the support she needed to reclaim the spotlight-one show at a time.

Produced by long-time collaborator Scott Jacoby and recorded at the Blue Note with a live rock quartet, Under Cover does a fairly brilliant job showcasing why the Grammy-nominated Maiysha was so hailed in the first place. An alto with Tamia's sweet highs but Mica Paris's full-bodied weight, Maiysha deftly covers some major hits and obscure classics with her unique emotional imprint. The Cher-penned Nancy Sinatra hit "Bang, Bang" becomes a jazz and rock power ballad under Maiysha's from-the-groin-to-the-rafters' soul sangin'. She drops the fussy jazz overtones and just straight rocks out Bad Company's "Feel Like Making Love." There are enough electric guitar and gut-bucket vocals on Bad Company's hit to make even Joplin blush. Maiysha is less successful in making Chris Issak's "Wicked Game" anything more than a strained holler you wish to drive past as quickly as possible. She nicely recovers from the dust with a sinewy Beatles intro of "And I Love Her" ("Him" in this case) that slides right into home base with a clean transition of the Scott Jacoby co-penned "You Don't Know" from her debut. The lady channels her best Shemekia Copeland for her take on the Southern blues shouter "I'm So Tired/ Hung Up." Jimi Hendrix's classic "If 6 were 9" easily marries the Edie Brickell & New Bohemians "What I Am" for a fearless flat foot vocal dance with a mean electric guitar and a shimmering Fender Rhodes. The young artist demonstrates she can bring it down a notch for a well-paced version of the Great American Songbook classic, "That's All," which thoughtfully evolves into Genesis's "That's All" with nary an eyebrow raised.

More substance than style, Maiysha's versatility in voice has some rough spots, but the seams displayed are minor compared to the whallop Maiysha packs when she really digs into a song and claims it as her own. With gigs like the Blue Note recording, Maiysha is definitely proving ready to meet the next round's hype as an artist who's paid every due with honesty and a talent that hits like a "Sledgehammer."   

Notable Tracks: "That's All/That's All," "Bang Bang," and "If 6 were 9 /What I Am."

Vocals: 3.0 stars
Music: 3.0 stars
Lyrics: 3.0 stars
Production: 3.0 stars
SoulTracks call: Recommended

By L. Michael Gipson

 

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