There used to be a time when releasing an album as a DIY effort would be considered unfathomable for a successful artist. But when the technology catches up with talent, the results of 2020/2021 are quite a bit different than they would’ve been in 1991. With Mercy Rising, Maia Sharp proves this twelvefold with each song vibrant in its own way and sounding like the work of an artist firmly comfortable with her music and place in the world.
The opener (and title track) “Mercy Rising” is all about getting some hope out of the despair of a broken relationship, a little help to get even just a little mercy. It’s a great opener (it also features co-writer Mindy Smith on harmony vocals) and anchor for a general mood that the overall record has. “Things To Fix” (written with Noah Guthrie) feels like something that’s ready for a mainstream country artist to tackle and turn into a major hit or just an AAA radio hit for Maia herself as it’s talking about things you see around your home and yourself to fix except fixing what should be #1, yourself or your heart.
The Gabe Dixon co-written “Junkyard Dog” is another one which stands out here (amongst a record of standouts) and like “Things To Fix,” I can picture someone (say Trisha Yearwood or Bettye LaVette) adding even more attitude to the song’s lyrics but as is here, Maia does a wonderful job conveying the emotion held within the soulful bones of the melody. There’s a “live to tell the world about it” vibe to the lyric of “Nice Girl” that is oh, so relatable to anyone who has fallen for someone only to realize they were “not as advertised” as they were when the relationship began. “Not Your Friend” has another version of the ‘relationship’ story, a song and the moody vibe of this song screams for playlists of the digital or radio kind.
songs about relationships, the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between and how we get out of them seems to be the overall cohesive vibe of Mercy Rising. It’s a wonderful collection of songs and showcases an artist that deserves our time and attention and, especially, what can happen in the modern world when talented musicians come together and record a record and release it for the world to enjoy.