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MARCHING TO HER OWN TUNES

Songwriter Maia Sharp's latest chapter: a self-released CD

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Maia Sharp has a multifaceted music career, but if she had to hang her hat on just one skill, it would be songwriter.

“It’s the thing that I can identify with the most,” she says. “It’s the thing that I love the most. If I had to choose one, if I could only do one, it would be writing, which is probably why that’s the one that’s succeeded the most.”

She’s not just blowing smoke: Bonnie Raitt, the Dixie Chicks, Trisha Yearwood and Edwin McCain are among the artists who have recorded tunes written by Sharp.

She also has had the chance to write with such legends as Art Garfunkel and Carole King.

“He is a powerful presence, for sure, and wicked-smart,” Sharp says of Garfunkel. “He sees things in a unique way, and I’ve learned a lot from him, just from hanging with him. He can be a little intense, but that’s because he’s a pro.”

King was “so cool, right from the beginning,” remembers Sharp. “She walked in (wearing Levi’s) and a T-shirt, and she was there to work,” she adds. “She clearly still loves the actual work and the craft of it. She’s not resting on any laurels. She was there to get down in the dirt and write. She totally made [me] feel like the field was level, even though we knew it was not because she’s Carole freakin’ King.”

Performing, not songwriting, will be at the top of Sharp’s to-do list the first half of September. She’ll be on the road in support of Eve & the Red Delicious, a seven-song CD she recorded with bassist Darren Embry and released on her own Crooked Crown label.

Sharp already has plans for her next CD, which she expects to come out on an established label sometime in 2007.

— By Chris M. Junior

Maia Sharp on tour (schedule subject to change):

* Sept. 1: Nighttown — Cleveland
* Sept. 2-3: Johnstown FolkFest — Johnstown, Pa.
* Sept. 4: Northam Park — Upper Arlington, Ohio
* Sept. 6: The Saint — Asbury Park, N.J.
* Sept. 7: Higher Ground — Burlington, Vt.
* Sept. 8: Opera House — Boothbay Harbor, Maine
* Sept. 9: Performing Arts Center — Natick, Mass.
* Sept. 10: World Cafe — Philadelphia
* Sept. 12: Club Cafe — Pittsburgh
* Sept. 13: Jim Porter’s Good Time Emporium — Louisville, Ky.
* Sept. 14: Bluebird — Nashville, Tenn.