Beginning in 2016, The Stray Birds’ fiddler and vocalist Maya de Vitry found herself writing songs that didn’t fit with the band’s aesthetic. At the time, the prospect felt confusing, even a touch frightening. “It was really scary because I didn’t know what that meant,” she says over the phone from Pennsylvania. “The band was all consuming.” De Vitry had been performing with the The Stray Birds for nearly a decade, releasing — at the time — four albums and an EP. What were these songs, if not for them?
As it turns out, her solo debut Adaptations moves away from the sound — and structures — that defined her folk and traditional inclinations with The Stray Birds. Producer Dan Knobler and a backing rock band layer each song with flourishes of electric guitar phrasing and soft brushes on the drum, all of which open the door for de Vitry’s strikingly deep and at times stately voice to infiltrate new spaces.
Writing for herself rather than a group, de Vitry’s lyrics lean towards inclusivity, humanity, and other unitive concepts. There are also themes of love, but not exactly the romantic kind. On “The Key” de Vitry writes about the necessity of friendship at a time when romance felt burdensome (she and The Stray Birds’ Oliver Craven had broken up following the release of the band’s 2016 album Magic Fire). Whatever misgivings de Vitry had about walking her own path, Adaptations showcases a remarkable voice set to scale new heights. As she sings on “Wilderness”: “It’s time to leave the trail behind.”
Read the full article at The Bluegrass Situation.