When Nashville’s Maggie Rose released her critically-acclaimed album Have A Seat, she defied the expectations set for her as a “country artist.” The album, produced by Ben Turner of Alabama Shakes and recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama (Etta James, Credence Clearwater Revival), boasts R&B/soul influences, while calling for unity in a world divided.
The CMT-recognized artist played at City Green Live in Sandy Springs in June in front of a packed house of fans, family and friends. She graciously spoke with us about her new album, her female-songwriter-focused podcast Salute The Songbird.
Have A Seat came out in 2021 and people love it. What about this album resonates with listeners differently than your prior releases?
This album came out when we were able to physically gather again. To have music that brings us together is a relief after the pandemic. The songs are about inclusivity and compassion. Those themes are nice to keep in mind when we’re societally having a difficult time communicating.
From what I could tell, "Have A Seat " [also a lyric in the song "What Are We Fighting For?"] means “let’s sit down and talk it out.”
Absolutely. It’s about making room for people who want to sit at that proverbial table. Like, the song “For Your Consideration” is me addressing rhetoric that I was seeing across the board. There were people not even willing to agree to disagree. The first step in showing compassion is by giving people the space to say what they’re feeling.
What brought you to Ben Tanner as a producer?
Ben Tanner was introduced to me by my publisher, Katie Fagan. After [my 2019 album] Change The Whole Thing, I wanted to make an album with soul and vibrance. Ben Tanner, is well versed in the Muscle Shoals sound, being part of Alabama Shakes, and is managed by one of Katie’s best friends. It just came together really organically.
How did Salute the Songbird come together?
The pandemic was the instigator for the project. I was a guest on another podcast called Past Present Future Live with RJ Bee, one of the cofounders of Osiris, where my podcast is produced. The producer realized, “we don’t have very many female hosts.” They loved that interview and asked me if it would be something that I was interested in. I jumped at it to reconnect to artists I’d grown accustomed to seeing on a regular basis.
There are no specified openers for your summer tour. Is it important to give local artists a spot opening for touring acts?
Absolutely. I’ve been given a leg up by other artists, so if I can extend an opportunity to someone who’s hitting the pavement and sweating it out, then that’s what I’m going to do.
Is there any advice that you would give artists starting out in this industry?
You can do things in your own way. I subscribed to so many other people’s rules when I first moved to Nashville. I thought that was the only way to do it. If you see a path that’s more ambitious, more comfortable - don’t be afraid to ask for it. That is totally within your right and your power.