Maggie Rose Talks Philly, Nashville, and Getting Introspective (5/29 at WCL)

The last time we saw Nashville singer/songwriter Maggie Rose in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection she was headlining the grand reopening of the Music Hall at...

The last time we saw Nashville singer/songwriter Maggie Rose in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection she was headlining the grand reopening of the Music Hall at World Café Live in September of 2021.  Although music fans were still navigating their comfort levels in live settings at the time, the show proved to be one of the best the city saw that year.  However, Rose has played countless shows in the almost three years since (bringing her number of performances at the iconic Grand Ole Opry to over 100) and she’s preparing to return downstairs at World Café Live next Wednesday, May 29th.  April 5th saw the release of Maggie Rose’s most recent full-length, No One Gets Out Alive, via Big Loud Records.  And I recently got a chance to catch up with Maggie via Zoom, where we chatted about her new album, some of her favorite women in music, and her thoughts on both Nashville and Philadelphia.

Izzy Cihak: You released No One Gets Out Alive last month.  How do you feel like the album compares to Have A SeatWhen we talked in September of 2021, you mentioned feeling like you’d found a home and begun to settle into the world of Americana.

Maggie Rose: Yeah, I feel like every album has been a further evolution into figuring out who I am, but this project in particular was very personal.  The other albums, Have a Seat and Change the Whole Thing, were written from personal experiences, but I think it was more of a collective perspective, whereas I think No One Gets Out Alive was way more introspective.  And I wrote a lot of the album — or at least the ideas started — when I was hunkering down during the pandemic, and I was by myself.  So, I think that’s reflected in the songs.

Izzy: Have you had any favorite reactions to the album from fans so far, whether things they’ve have reached out to tell you personally, or just reactions the songs have gotten from live audiences?

Maggie: Yeah, absolutely.  When “No One Gets Out Alive,” the title track, came out, it was really cool to see people using the song in their Instagram stories.  It was them doing these really exciting, adventurous things, with that as the background music.  I got to see people all over the world doing these big, bold, daring things.  And I love that they associated that experience with the song about kind of going forward.  Also, just the live experience of performing “No One Gets Out Alive” at the end, and that big crescendo, is always really fun for us to see the audience.  Whether they know it’s coming or not, they just meet us there at that moment.

Izzy: You have played a good handful of shows in the past month or so and currently have a lot of upcoming shows and a variety of types of shows scheduled through September, from headlining dates to one or two support dates, and even a number of festivals.  Are there any shows you’re especially excited about, whether because of the lineup, the venue, or even just the city itself?

Maggie: Well, definitely Philadelphia.  And I’m not just saying it because I’m talking to you [laughs].  I love World Café.  It’s historically, for me, really important, because the first night that they reopened, after the pandemic, was our show.  And it was crazy, and the energy was still kind of tentative about what we were doing, but we all had to begin again, and that was such a significant night and the place to do it.  And I have so many friends and family that are gonna show up in Philly, because I grew up in Maryland, so not terribly far to Philadelphia.

Izzy: Yeah, I’m from Maryland, too, so I totally feel that!  I’m from Ellicott City, but I’ve lived here for 21 years.

Maggie: Awesome!  Yeah, it’s just a great town, and I hope that getting to see the comparison between the state of affairs when we played last and seeing how much we’ve grown is gonna be fun!

Izzy: On that note, what can be expected of the live show when you play World Café Live?

Maggie: With all of my own headlining tour dates, we’ve been able to really take control of the set and incorporate all this new music.  We’re gonna play the entire new record.  And we’re gonna, of course, touch on some old favorites that people would expect to hear.  I have an incredible opener, too.  His name is Fancy Hagood and he’s one of my favorite songwriters here in Nashville…  But expect lots of energy, and some storytelling behind a few of the songs.  It’s a really dynamic show and it’s a different set than we had been taking out on the road.  We really tried to draw a line in the sand for this new No One Gets Out Alive tour.

Izzy: Since I know you are based in Nashville, which is home to so many of our other favorite musicians, I have to ask your thoughts on the city’s music and arts scene at the moment.

Maggie: I moved here 16+ years ago, and it was a really different town.  I’m sure there were other cool subgenres bubbling under the surface, but it was pretty much a commercial country music town.  And I would have probably moved on to a different city, if this town hadn’t changed in the way that it has.  We have some of the best rock bands coming from here.  Some of the biggest stars in music are here, like Kacey Musgraves and The Black Keys.  And every time I felt like this town was getting stale, there was something that emerged that made me wanna stay and that drew me back in.  And I have so many talented friends here.  That’s how I got to make this record [laughs].  Selfishly, I was able to say, “I can call up Sadler Vaden and Chad Gamble from 400 Unit and have them play on the record.”  I’ve been really lucky to forge these relationships over the years because of living in this town.  It truly is like a little big town.  We’re all seeing each other all the time and there’s wonderful live music on any given night.  I think that’s just made me a better musician, being in proximity to that.

Izzy: On a sort of related note, you’d been doing a podcast, Salute The Songbird, for a few years that had you chatting with some of your favorite women in music, from within and outside of Nashville.  Is that something that you plan to do again in the future, when you’re maybe not so busy on tour?

Maggie: Yeah, I took a little hiatus from it, just because I wanted to get this record out.  And it is so much fun, but it’s a lot of work.  And I know you can appreciate this, I want to go into those interviews as prepared as possible.  All these women are so fascinating, there’s a lot of music to ingest.  They have these amazing stories and everyone’s very different.  I also want to reformat the show slightly when we reemerge.  But that’s definitely something I wanna continue, because it just made me connect so much more with all these different artists, people that I’d figured, “Oh, they’ve got it made!  They don’t have any problems or obstacles.  Like, they have these storied careers…”  And they do [have those problems and obstacles] and I learned something from each one of the guests.  It’s also really fun to research their great music.

Izzy: Is there anyone that you’re still really dying to have on the podcast, or maybe even that you’ve been bugging about getting on it?

Maggie: [Laughs] Oh my god, so many!  Patti Smith, Stevie Nicks, Carole King!  Carole King would be incredible.  The list goes on and on.  Mavis Staples!  I have become friendly with her, so I feel like that’s one that I might be able to get.  And there’s no shortage of women to talk to.  That’s been another really apparent thing.  Not that I ever thought there would be, but every day I feel like there’s someone else I’m learning about that I admire or that I’ve been sleeping on.  It’s fun to be able to get to know just what’s out there.

Izzy: Anyone that you’ve discovered recently that you’ve been especially impressed by?

Maggie: Yeah, Margaret Glaspy!  She’s been around for a while, but I really like her songwriting and her whole vibe.  I think she’s so cool.  And we went out with Derek and Susan with the Tedeschi Trucks Band.  And I’ve known their music and followed them for so long, but seeing them live, which I’ve gotten to do a couple times, every time just advances my appreciation for them.  But Margaret’s the one I’m on right now.  That’s the deep dive I’m on.

Izzy: I love Margaret Glaspy and have been a fan for years.  I remember the very first time I saw her was like six or seven years ago, and Adrianne Lenker from Big Thief was supporting her, and that’s like crazy…  And she’s gotten buddy-buddy with World Café Live and XPN.  She played there like two- or three-times last year…

Maggie: Well, I’ve never gotten to see her live, but I love her records!

Izzy: Finally, what’s next for you after these tour dates wrap up?  I know you have dates through September, but how are you hoping and planning to spend the last quarter of 2024?  Or, is it just going to be more touring?

Maggie: [Laughs] It’s gonna be more and more touring.  We really just announced the first leg of the tour, and that takes us through September [laughs].  So, yeah, we’re hopefully gonna be on the road for a long time, but I’m already putting the next record together, because these things take time and it’s never too early to start sewing those seeds.

Izzy: Any hints on what we might be able to expect of the new record, or are you still figuring that out yourself?

Maggie: Uhhh, still figuring it out [laughs].  I feel like a lot of it has been observational.  It’s definitely like coming of age, maybe about starting a family and all the things that come with that, and some complicated subject matter that I’m still trying to wrangle and put into material.  But I have a collection of songs that I feel like are starting to come together.

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.