Q & A with singer, songwriter Maggie Rose
Nashville-based singer/songwriter Maggie Rose will make a stop in Steamboat Springs next week to play at Old Town Pub & Restaurant on July 8. With a style that combines funk, blues, soul and country, she creates her own lyrical sensation, providing a one-of-a-kind live experience.
Her newest album, “Have a Seat,” was recorded live at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and will be released Aug. 20. Explore Steamboat caught up with Rose ahead of her visit to the Yampa Valley.
Explore Steamboat: Tell me a little bit about your new album and the inspiration behind it.
Maggie Rose: It’s called “Have a Seat,” and I was lucky enough to record it in Muscle Shoals, where legends like Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones and Otis Redding all cut these incredible records in the same studio. I wanted to soak up the magic of that room. I took the band down there and joined up with Ben Tanner (of Alabama Shakes) who produced the record. It was written during a time of political contention. It has its own musical style and feels really celebratory to be able to release it at a time when the world is opening back up.
What: Maggie Rose
When: 8 p.m. July 8
Where: Old Town Pub & Restaurant, 600 Lincoln Ave.
ES: What messages are you trying to convey with this album?
MR: Promoting a strong sense of self and individuality was something that I feel like I’m really starting to enjoy in the musical landscape of things, having found my sound. And inclusivity: The idea, “have a seat,” came about because of this idea of a gathering place where we can make room for everyone who wants a seat at the table. It’s the idea of a table where we can gather and communicate and make room for one another. Only you can fill your own chair — we can all only be ourselves. I think the most compassionate thing we can do is listen to one another even when we disagree.
ES: How would you describe your current musical style, and has it changed throughout the years?
MR: We are calling it American rock and soul. It doesn’t really have its own genre and specification. There’s some funk, some R&B and some folk elements in some of the songs. I think it’s a product of having lived in Nashville and having created music here for so long. Nashville has evolved a lot, and the variety of music that you can find here is evolving. This time around, I really understood what my capabilities as a singer were, because we cut it live and didn’t use the typical method of recording. There was no autotuning, and it wasn’t overly manicured so that you can feel the rawness of the vocals. I love the big feeling of the horns and strings on this record. I’ve never incorporated that before.
ES: Can you describe your process for songwriting? Where do you draw inspiration from?
MR: It varies from song to song. The origin of one song to the next can be lyrical or melodic. With this album, it was finding catharsis in times that felt difficult. There was a lot of hateful rhetoric being thrown around. I’m not super verbal when it comes to commenting on the state of the world but when it comes to writing a song, I think that’s such a wonderful vehicle for communication that invites people in instead of preaching at them. I try to always construct a song that can be timeless, and that invites people to see themselves in it. That helps me process my perspective in the world.
ES: It looks like you’re touring quite a bit this summer and into the fall — what’s your favorite thing about being on tour?
MR: The audience. It’s so awesome to think about the fact that this is going to be a two-way conversation in some ways. I’ve always had an audience to try out new songs on, and they’ve very much helped me dictate what I want to put on a record. With the pandemic, I didn’t have that resource, and it felt like an amputation. … I had to put this project together, and now, I’m ready to deliver it to them so that it can become everyone’s.
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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The Bud Werner Memorial Library is teaming up with libraries across the country to bring a live event to Steamboat Springs, featuring New York Times bestselling author Karin Slaughter.