Published on BLURT – Monday, Nov. 8, 2010
Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor’s reunion was a case of the stars aligning. They are currently on tour.
BY ANNAMARYA SCACCIA
When Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor disbanded Azure Ray in 2004 to pursue different musical careers, they knew it wouldn’t be a permanent end to the beloved indie folk-pop outfit. There was always the possibility-and intention-to reconvene, says Fink, and when that time would come to pass, it would be met with equal enthusiasm. It was just a matter of “never saying never” and of understanding that life is a series of unforeseen events.
You can chalk up Azure Ray’s reunion over a year ago to fate. In late 2008/early 2009, the pair, who maintained their friendship through the years, found themselves in California for singular reasons; at the time, Taylor was a resident, and Fink was visiting as part of her work as a touring member of Rilo Kiley. In her travels, Fink stayed with Taylor at Taylor’s request, and it was through this cohabitation that the connection they had as a band years ago was rekindled. But it wasn’t until Fink’s home in Omaha, Nebraska, was sold while she was in California that the deal was cemented. With nowhere to go, she was convinced by Taylor to relocate to the Golden State and, according to Fink, the only way her husband would allow this to happen was if Azure Ray got back together. “It kinda put it out there for us and we were like, ‘Yeah, let’s do it,’ and so, then, that was kinda of the decision,” she says. “Something about the stars aligning. It felt like we were just there at the place that we needed to be in.”
For Fink, who now lives in Athens, Georgia, being able to return to Azure Ray was nothing but wonderful. It’s a sentiment that the Birmingham, Alabama-based Taylor agrees with, equating their reunion with “coming back home.” “It felt so natural,” she says.
This instant familiarity is not absent on Azure Ray’s new Drawing Down the Moon (Saddle Creek) either. Recorded with the help of producer Eric Bachmann, the album keeps with the duo’s tradition of drawing inspiration from life, focusing on themes of multi-faceted love and reformation (“Going through the fire and coming out the other side, whether to beauty or to scars,” says Fink). But there’s a certain maturity to the record that offers listeners a more enticing, majestic appeal in addition to the duo’s signature willowy sound. It’s the perfect reintroduction to the much-missed band (they head out on tour starting October 10).
And Drawing Down the Moon won’t be the last of Azure Ray. According to Taylor, while both are involved in side products (Fink plays in O+S with Remy Zero’s Cedric LeMoyne, and Taylor is working on a record with Andy LeMaster in addition to another solo album), they don’t foresee a future hiatus, even if a couple of years may pass between records.
Azure Ray’s U.S. tour runs now through Nov. 20. Tour itinerary at the official website.