Flying High With Maggie Rose

​At Peach Festival, there was no media area which is where I usually would do an onsite interview.  Security for backstage was tight and I audio record my interviews so I didn't want to risk being out in the open with so much background noise interference.  I came up with the idea to do it on the ski lift.  It's about a 20 minute ride and pretty quiet, so it was also pretty ideal.  Thankfully, Maggie was on board as well and it definitely takes the cake for coolest interview location for me so far.  

Karin McLaughlin: So, you just got in last night. Where were you before this?

Maggie Rose: I was in Nashville - I played the Grand Ole Opry this week.

KM: Nice! Now the Opry is one which you played - how many times?

MR: A lot!  It’s probably upwards of 60.  I keep count because it's so sacred to me and I love being invited to perform there any time. It's that sense of community, which I feel like, it's very fitting that I played the Opry and Peach in the same week, because I feel that here too definitely.  It's just the right energy and people here for the right reason and you can feel the love.

KM: Yeah, there's definitely certain festivals where you like, are like, ‘Okay, I'm gonna hide my valuables in my tent,” but this is not one of them.

MR: Totally - You can see how relaxed people are here.  And happy!

KM: Yes, definitely!

MR: And everyone that I walk by is like, “Hey, happy Peach!”  

KM: It's funny that you mentioned that you keep track of The Opry because it's such a sacred place. There's a lot of artists that I've interviewed and everyone that say that that's one of their goals is to play at the Grand Ole Opry and they feel like once they've been able to play there, then they've made it.  So at 60 times you're, you're on the top of the charts - do they give you a medal at that point - when you’ve played 50 or 100 shows?

MR:  I know people who have played there over 100 times.  You know, they induct members of the Opry family. And that is - in any genre of music, I think one of those feelings of - there's little moments throughout every career, little defining moments - but It's not just another show or just another accomplishment.  It changes your world.

KM: Having played so much there, do you feel like you’re an OG of the Opry (laughs)?

MR: I feel like I'm seeing my old friends whenever I set foot in the Opry, but I still get butterflies and it's kind of weird, because there are other scenarios in which I felt like I would be more nervous, but I don't have quite the same feeling as I do there.

KM: That’s how you could judge right? Like is it really cool if you don't feel all nervous and your palms aren’t sweating?

MR: Right? Because I think when you stop feeling nervous, and that means you're not doing it for the right reasons and you should always cherish opportunities. ​ *speaking of butterflies, as we go up on the lift, we see the folks zip lining down and although we said we'd do it together, we both admit that we are now getting a little nervous about it*.​

KM: The other thing I really liked when I was reading all the stuff about you and how you make your albums is that you have released a digital 45.  You also record with your band in the recording booth with you, you don't track over everything. It's very old school to me and I know that you have a lot of old school influences as well so I kind of want to speak to that and why you value that and do things that way.  Not a lot of people do that anymore – I mean, when's the last time you heard of anyone, putting out a 45?! But also, not a lot of people record with the band in the same room, they do separate recordings.  I wonder kind of why you chose that or why you like that.

MR: It was a bit of a reversion for me, because I had done the big pop sounding records where you use a lot of effects and electronic samples and synthesizers. I tried to be really observant about what magic we were creating in the live show.  I had these people who would just keep coming back to that experience, but then they'd say things and they probably thought they're paying the compliment but to me, I heard something that made me think, ‘I need to fix this.’   People would say, “I love all your recorded music.”  So they were telling me that they didn’t like my live music is how it sounded, which made me reflect on what the disconnect is between my recordings and the live thing and it let me just sing and realize my capability as a vocalist.  

I have my family, which is my band, to play music with and relying on them in that live setting and all of us making music together - it changed my performance. It was something that I didn't really think I would use for an entire album approach, but we recorded those first three songs in July of 2017 and this was just something that I wanted to do. It was so compelling and fun for us that we were like, 'Yeah, we're gonna finish the album like this right?'

Logistically, it was kind of a nightmare getting all these people together - some of them are my band, some of them are with like Katy Perry, and Brothers Osborne, all these different bands - so coordinating the schedules was fun (laughs), but when we got together, it added to that excitement.  It was like a reunion!

KM: The band's back together!

MR: Right!  It took a lot of rehearsal on the front end, because that was our pre-production, but it was just a safe space for people to be collaborative and run with their ideas and I felt like everyone had a little hand in arranging all the songs.

KM: What's the last live show you went to that wasn't at a festival that you were playing at or something like that?

MR: Oh, I'm living in Nashville, so I’m pretty spoiled.  I can go and see live music any night.

Photo Cred: Christopher Hoffman

Photo Cred: Christopher Hoffman

Photo Cred: Christopher Hoffman

Photo Cred: Christopher Hoffman

​On a weeknight, you're exhausted, but we live in East Nashville and there's this great venue, ​The Basement East.  It's a nice walking distance, so it's hard to not be tempted to go see a show there any night.

We saw Dave Matthews Band​ at Bridgestone Arena, when they came through ​and they hadn't played Nashville in 10 years.  You could just see the love. ​ It's a similar vibe to this (Peach Festival), where people are there to dance and there's no expectation of ​'play your hit', it's just about just playing music. 

One of my managers who's very experienced, he's been doing this for a very, very long time, had never seen Dave Matthews and he's more commercial and that frame of mind and after the show, he's like, 'That was one of my top five shows!' ​

(Talking to folks on the lift going down) Happy Peach!

​So that was a really fun night, but I like to see everything​ - observe and diversify. There's not a whole lot of music I don't like.

KM: Who have you gotten to see here so far?

MR: We saw String Cheese last night and we saw a little bit of Lotus.  I caught up with my friend Andy Frasco last night.  We got in yesterday and tried to come here right away to catch what we could.  I wish I could stay to see Marcus King play tomorrow and Grace Potter.  Marcus and I have been writing some music together lately.

​KM: That makes me very happy to hear!  I just went to 4848 Festival like two weeks ago and a lot of the same people like Billy Strings, the Greensky guys, Marcus King and Lettuce were all there so I'm extra pumped to see them all again!  Marcus King is just so...

MR: ​So he's 23, just let that sink in (laughs).

KM: I know and he's just so genuinely happy.

MR: He really is.

KM: You can't like not smile when you're watching him. ​

​Him and Billy Strings like, and I think, like Mimi from Fruition -there's certain people that they will play music all day and all night, right?  They'll team up with anybody​ and get on stage and make magic.  That's one of the things I love most about festivals ​- like Holly Bowling just came out with Fruition and you're just like, ​'Oh, I've never seen this before. This is ​fantastic!'

MR: Definitely!  That is what's such a cool thing about living in Nashville too, it's that opportunity for that collaborative spirit. ​ Marcus and I live in the same neighborhood and​ I'll see him driving around and JD McPherson and Rayland Baxter live there too.

KM:  Fun! Rayland - he was at 4848 too and he's amazing.

MR:  Yeah - I heard String Cheese play last night and they played the song  that they feature him on and you're just like, 'Alright, I moved to the city for that!'  For those people to pull the best out of me as well.

I think, back to your question about why we did the last record that way- it's the people around me too.  I knew that I had these glorious musicians that I could let strut and trust them to perform in a live setting and they of course, did not disappoint.

KM: Who would be your dream collaboration, other than Marcus King out of people performing at this festival?

MR: He's still my answer (laughs)

KM: Ok, one other maybe?

MR: Man, ​from this festival it would probably be with Grace Potter. It'd be really killer to do something with another female, especially one that has that spunk.  She gives me Debbie Harry vibes.  I think she's going to be a very sustainable, timeless artist.

KM: It's because she's such a hippie at heart.

MR: Yes, and she's genuinely talented. I saw her at The Ryman years ago for the first it's time and she's jumping all over stage and she was happy, which is awesome and fierce.   I think that that's stuck with me a lot because I'm pretty impressionable at that point.

KM: That's great - you got a hell of a good woman influence.

MR: So it'd be fun to join forces with her and ​she would inspire me to dream great.

KM:  A dream collaboration!  I think I realized at 48 that one of mine, being that I'm just a fan obviously, was Marcus King, Billy Strings - who do things together already with their King and Strings bit -  but add Tyler Childers in there.

MR: I love Tyler Childers

KM: "Honky Tonk Flame" I could play over and over and over again​.  ​

​Now there's an article I was reading about you and your music and I wanna make sure I get it right because I loved the description - 'trippy country soul'.

MR: Yeah, I love that.  So that was, one of the cooler articles I feel like, because I've been doing this for a really long time - 11 years in Nashville doing this in a professional capacity -and it's really hard to get people to open their mind and see you in ways other than maybe they had gotten comfortable with and you get compartmentalized, we all do in every field.  I felt like we had just been really intentional about doing things that were authentic to us, and getting the narrative to that place where we can live at the Peach and Opry and​ we can also go out with Kelly Clarkson.  We can do all these different things that still resonate with different audiences and that's what I feel like live music is all about - bringing people together in an unexpected way. So that made me really happy to see that we were shifting the perception, what we were able to do.

​KM: That kind of leads me to another question that I had.   It's nice to be able to mix it up - like here we had Stephen Marley and then you have Lettuce and then you have Greensky - it's kind of​ everything. ​ Do you find festivals like this more appealing or less appealing because you're finding new fans and reaching people you might not at an event that is more one musical genre?  It's the opportunity and chance to share new music versus performing for the folks that know all the words and buy the albums.​

​MR: I'm all about the more the merrier - all are welcome​! You know, I think ​especially in the building stages and getting-to-know-you phase that even this far in, I still fall in that category and I plan on being in for a while because you can always grow and reach further.  You have to say no to a few things because you don't want to seem unfocused and confused, but I also think that you should push yourself to fit in different settings. That might not be the expected but, places like this - I love coming to.  A lot of people who love the music I love are here. So why would I not want to share my music?

​KM: And what's left for 2019?  I can't believe - you know, somebody posted a meme the other day that there we're only four months away from 2020 and if man your man isn't treating you right, get your shit straight, you got to see better hashtag 2020 vision.

MR: Oh, that's true. That's so true. Well, I'm making my third album down in Muscle Shoals Alabama at Fame Studios

KM: Nice - have you seen a documentary about that?

MR: Yes, definitely and it's really incredible to watch because just like what we're talking about -the last question - is that place is so indicative of bringing people together that hadn't been able to make music together before.   With this band, we're making it with Ben Tanner, who's from Alabama Shakes​ and he brought David Hood to the room,  who's 75 years old.  That's the rhythm section - David and then my drummer Sarah Tomic, who's young, in her 30s and Will McFarland who played with Bonnie Raitt for a decade in the 70s is playing with my guitarist. So it's all these different backgrounds and ages and just this commingling of ideas. It's been really cool and then you draw from the energy at Fame Studios, which is legendary and the setting where a lot of my favorite music was recorded, so you feel that and getting out of Nashville even two hours, physically and mentally was kind of life changing.

Speaking of life changing, our ride on the ski lift up the mountain came to an end and Maggie and I decided to take the zip line down, because why not?!  Well, one reason that I learned later that may and could have prevented us from this type of return was that Maggie has a smidgen of a fear of heights.  Let me tell you, she is small but she is mighty for sure because she climbed those three flights of spiral stairs, put on her brave face and zoomed to the end of the line with me - and said she had a good time doing it!  As I returned to the stage to see Greensky Bluegrass for a bit, she prepared to get ON stage and let me say that she is a force to be reckoned with when she gets up there!  If she comes to your neck of the woods - I highly recommend catching her live and I can't wait to hear what comes next from her!




The following videos are provides courtesy of Maggie Roes's YouTube Channel.




Additional Resources

Additional Resources



To learn more about Maggie Rose, please use the following web resources:

About the author
Karin McLaughlin

Karin McLaughlin

Karin has been a live music junkie all her life, however is a fairly new fan in the world of jam bands and bluegrass. She grew up on hip hop, classic soul, motown and classic rock but has found a new home in the festival world and that is what, in part, had brought her to DC Music Review. Karin produces and hosts a weekly radio show in the area called Karin's Calendar, where she talks all about 'Where to be in the DMV'. She is very excited to be starting down a semi-new road with us and hopes to use her interview skills and write ups of shows to contribute even more to DC Music Review.