Maria Taylor performs at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City on Saturday 

Maria Taylor performs at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City on Saturday 

Tom Shackleford

Maria Taylor was a long way from home on Saturday when she took the stage at New York’s Rockwood Music Hall. Perhaps it was the skirt and boots look she was going for on a chilly northeastern winter night, if not her friendly southern persona that New Yorkers aren’t necessarily accustomed to. Whatever the reason that made her seem out of place, that didn’t stop her from making everyone in the packed venue feel like they were right at home in the small Lower East Side club. The Azure Ray singer played through a handful material from her six album catalog, including new songs from her latest album, In The Next Life.

Her calm, casual style of performing made the audience feel relaxed, and in return, felt like they were watching an old friend play for them as she appropriately went right into “Home,” the lead track from her new album. The song was recorded on piano, so playing it on guitar was as new to her as it was for everyone in the audience. The softer song was a nice intro, but the more upbeat and pop friendly, “Song Beneath The Song,” made for a lively followup to get things running up to speed early on.

She kept the friendly vibes going with songs like “Cartoons and Forever Plans” and “Free Song,” which had a 60s psychedelic free-spirited feel to it, making for quite the fitting title.

Maria’s not a pop star, which is fine because the music world already has plenty of those. She fits more within the contemporary singer-songwriter realm, mixing the warmth of Americana with a pop-rock kind of songwriter vibe that Sheryl Crow or Christina Perri bring. However you’d like to describe her, Maria’s style of performing is warm and welcoming, which is probably why she’s still able to pack a venue like Rockwood on a dreary Saturday night.