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Maggie Rose Cements Her Country-Soul Reinvention on ‘No One Gets Out Alive’

Nashville was once famously called a ‘ten year town,’ because that’s about how long an artist has to make it there. Maggie Rose has been at it longer than that. Along the way, she struggled to break through in mainstream country music by submitting herself to the machine: playing CMA Fest in the midday summer sun, visiting countless radio stations, and releasing country singles that went nowhere.

Finally, she had enough. In 2018, with her aptly titled LP Change the Whole Thing, Rose threw up her hands and began making the music that spoke to her. While it maintained country elements, it was steeped in soul and R&B and helped the Maryland native cultivate a new audience. Her 2021 follow-up, Have a Seat, took Rose’s sound even further into rootsy country-funk, and she found an unlikely home with the jam-band audience (she’s played with everyone from Marcus King to Devon Allman). On Rose’s latest album, the stellar No One Gets Out Alive, she cements her reinvention as one of the most successful in Nashville history.

No One Get Out Alive glides along on good vibes and showcases an artist fully confident in where she stands. “I don’t need a golden ticket to be part of the club/because I’m already in it,” she sings in the delicious defiance of “Underestimate Me.” “Anywhere I land I’ll stick it/Maybe it’s a dream, but to me I live it.”

It helps that Rose has such a dynamic voice to work with, and that she no longer needs to shoehorn it into the parameters of a country radio song. She soars on the title track, which opens with subtle piano notes and Rose’s declarations to live a life uninhibited: “Buy the house, visit Rome/Wear the dress that stops the show.” It’s a five-and-a-half-minute opus that crescendos with Rose’s pipes cutting a path through an Abbey Road-like wall of sound.

Produced by Ben Tanner, the album evokes vintage Carole King and Joni Mitchell, the Laurel Canyon scene, and hints of Eighties Sade. Rose has her own Wrecking Crew behind her too: guitarist Sadler Vaden and drummer Chad Gamble, of Jason Isbell’s crack 400 Unit, keyboardist Peter Levin, and bassist Zac Cockrell lay down the grooves with an assist from two members of Rose’s band, keys player Kaitlyn Connor and guitarist Kyle Lewis. As such, there’s a natural quality to the recordings — these are musicians who clearly know one another.


Rose is at her controlled best on ballads like “Too Young” and “Vanish,” but she allows herself to rock with abandon here and there (a few more moments of that would have been welcome). Chief among them is “Dead Weight,” which blasts off with a Stones-y riff before Rose commences to free herself from a person — or entity — that’s been holding her back.

Could it be Music Row? Despite releasing No One Gets Out Alive on the Nashville label Big Loud Records (home to Morgan Wallen and Hardy), Rose sounds free of that regimented past. She’s both out of the game and fully alive.

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