When: Thu., Feb. 22, 7 p.m. 2018
BRANDY CLARK "Ain't we all the stars playing the leading part in our own soap opera?" Brandy Clark belts out that question to kick off Big Day in a Small Town, positing the premise of not just the opening track ("Soap Opera"), but all 10 songs that follow it. The towns that anchor Clark's new album may be small enough to warrant only a single blinking light, but the lives lived in them are anything but... and neither are the hopes and dreams that rise from their backroads and bedrooms. When you grow up in a small town, oftentimes, your dreams are all you have. Whether it's to become a football star or a father, a homecoming queen or a hairdresser, your dreams might be the only thing that keep you going. For Clark, the dream she harbored in her small hometown of Morton, Washington, was to be a country singer. Sure, once she moved to Nashville, she had successful cuts as a songwriter [The Band Perry's "Better Dig Two," Miranda Lambert's "Mama's Broken Heart," and Kacey Musgraves' "Follow Your Arrow" which won the CMA Song of the Year Award in 2014], but being an artist in her own right was a dream she had stopped dreaming until three years ago when her first album, the stunning 12 Stories, debuted. At the time, it was a passion project, more than anything... a passion project that went on to become a GRAMMY- and CMA-nominated release that topped a myriad of "Best Albums of 2013" lists; earn her opening slots on tours with Eric Church, Jennifer Nettles, and Alan Jackson; land her performances onThe Ellen DeGeneres Show , Good Morning America, The Late Show with David Letterman, and a much-talked about collaboration with Dwight Yoakam on the 2015 GRAMMY Awards in recognition of her nomination in the all-genre Best New Artist category; and win her a Warner Bros. Records deal. Now, as she gears up for her sophomore set, the alternately feisty and poignant Big Day in a Small Town, Clark has much higher hopes. "When I made 12 Stories, I think my dreams were a lot more realistic, in that I didn't expect a lot to happen... then it did," she says. "This time, my dreams are very much what they were when I was going to Vince Gill and Patty Loveless concerts and decided I was going to move to Nashville. Right now, my dreams are as big as when I was naïve enough to really dream them." Produced by Jay Joyce [Little Big Town, Eric Church], Big Day in a Small Town tells the stories of the football star, the father, the homecoming queen, and the hairdresser because those are the stories and people that Clark grew up knowing. "All these songs, there's some little truth in them, somewhere, that resonates with me or that is about me," she confesses. Explaining the genesis of "Soap Opera," she offers, "When I would get worried about what people thought of me or what was going on with me, my mom would always say, 'You know, we're all the star of our daytime drama. We're just bit players in someone else's. Nobody cares that much about what's going on with you. They'll only care until there's something juicier going on with somebody else two weeks later.'" But Clark cares enough about all of these characters to tell their stories: the aging beauty of "Homecoming Queen" who wonders what happened to the life she always wanted... the tempted exes of "You Can Come Over" who do all they can to not get burned by the flame that flickers between them... the heartbroken heroine of "Daughter" who wishes a bit of karmic justice on her ex in the form of a daughter who's "just as sweet as she is hot"... the defiant wild child of "Girl Next Door" who refuses to fit her lover's misguided notion of womanhood. "'Homecoming Queen' is really real for me — I know that girl. 'You Can Come Over' is very real for me and 'Daughter' and 'Soap Opera'..." Clark's voice trails off as she thinks about the tales she tells. What about "Drinkin' Smokin' Cheatin'" with its pondering of ways to navigate the sometimes rocky waters of a relationship? Game plan? Wish list? "That's a total daydream," she says with a laugh. "I think we all have that daydream." One of the most heartfelt moments on Big Day in a Small Town is the one that closes it, "Since You've Gone to Heaven." The song addresses the aftermath of losing someone close to you and it's one that Clark has wanted — and attempted — to write for years. "My dad was killed in a work accident the July before 9/11," she says. "When all that 9/11 stuff was going on and everyone was glued to the TV ... I thought right then, 'Since you've gone to heaven, the whole world has gone to hell.' But I sat on it for years and years because it seemed so bleak." As with all of Clark's compositions, there's some truth in it, just not necessarily the whole truth. "It's definitely not the story of my family in that song. I'll stress that," she says. "But I do think, a lot of times, when somebody dies, it blows things apart more than it brings things together." While the lyrical themes echo those of 12 Stories, Clark pushed her vocal and musical boundaries on Big Day in a Small Town. Instead of building the songs from a simple guitar/vocal performance, Joyce brought the players in for five days of rehearsals before tracking live with the band. "A lot of those rehearsals became what the record was," Clark says, explaining that the recorded version of "You Can Come Over" includes her one-take, scratch vocal. "I wanted to fix a few things, but Jay wouldn't let me because he felt like it would lose emotion. He's about the heart of music. He's not about making it perfect." "He is out to serve the artist and the song," she adds. Throughout the process, Joyce insisted that this be a "Brandy Clark record" not a "Jay Joyce record" because she was the one who would be performing it night-after-night even as he moved on to his next project. "If I didn't like something, he'd be the first person to change it. I think this project means nearly as much to him as it does to me." Though Neil Young's Harvest was the only musical reference point the two discussed before heading into Neon Cross Studios, Clark and Joyce each brought their influences along — including Clark's long-standing love of classic country and Joyce's well-documented affinity for edgier rock. "He and I definitely come from different places, musically, which I think is probably good," she offers. "On 'Daughter,' he started to play an organ part and I said, 'That sounds like [Patsy Cline's] "Back in Baby's Arms."' He said, 'What's that?' He didn't know it." Along with Sturgill Simpson, Ashley Monroe, Chris Stapleton, and Kacey Musgraves (who provides guest vocals on "Daughter"), Clark is part of a new vanguard in country music — one that tips a hat to tradition, while not eschewing its evolution. "I see what's happening right now and I feel this groundswell of people who love... I would say 'country' music, but I'll take it a step further and say 'real' music. I feel like there are people who are starved for that," she says. "The only music I've ever made is country music. The only music I've ever really listened to consistently is country music. And I want to keep that alive, so there's a responsibility in that, for me." But, for Brandy Clark, that responsibility is a dream come true. Maggie Rose When it comes to music, Maggie Rose doesn't let other things define her — not prevailing trends, not marketing labels, not even her own past. Maggie Rose defines herself. A woman of exceptional versatility and variety, the Nashville-based artist draws from the many musical genres at play in the city — a love of storytelling and substantive lyrics learned from country music, an affinity for finely crafted pop production, R&B's commitment to an irresistible groove. Familiar elements all, but Maggie Rose combines them in a singular way. It's always honest, always her. Maggie Rose's new tracks "Just Getting By" and "Pull You Through" show a powerhouse singer in complete command not only of her live-in-the-studio recording sessions but also of her creative and prolific career. Recording in Nashville with an 11-piece band, Maggie's making the most exciting music of her life as she taps into a soulful country side in the vein of Linda Ronstadt and Adele. Maggie envisioned a unique level of rawness for these sessions, an approach to recording she had never taken before. Rather than building the tracks through overdubs, she wanted all the players -- the rhythm section, the guitarists, the vocalists -- in one place together, taking cues from each other and responding in the moment. Her band consists not of the city's studio talent but of members of The Morrison Brothers Band and Them Vibes, as well as friends from Nashville's music scene who are plenty talented in their own right and have played with Kelly Clarkson, Brothers Osborne, Steven Tyler and others. The sound springs from the shared experiences of a community. Maggie's entire career has prepared her for this moment. She's just now reaching a point where she can fully express the music she always has held inside herself. "I have a level of confidence now that's allowing me to make my music the way I want," she says. "I have been waiting to seize this opportunity and I didn't even know it." "Just Getting By" and "Pull You Through" encompass the lifetime of a relationship. "Just Getting By," which Maggie — a newlywed — wrote in the wake an argument with her husband, shows a couple wrestling to establish a unified identity. "It's not simply about the feeling of falling head over heels in love or of being in an argument, it's about profound commitment to one another," Maggie says. "It's about having hope and believing in yourselves. It's kind of romantic that we're in hustle mode as much as we are. I feel like I'll look back on this time of my life, and it will seem dreamy to me." Maggie wrote "Pull You Through", a soulful ballad, while she was engaged, imagining years into her future -- and the implication of the phrase “’til death do us part." "You grow up your whole life knowing that's part of the wedding ceremony, but to hear it and realize its gravity is overwhelming," she says. Shortly after she wrote the song, Maggie's grandparents, married for 66 years, died seven weeks apart. "Suddenly, these people who had been together for decades were gone," she says. "In retrospect, their passing made the song mean that much more to me, as I understand more about what committing your life to someone looks like." The new tracks come just months after Maggie's acclaimed 'Dreams > Dollars' EP. In 2016, CMT named Maggie one of its Next Women of Country, and this year she has toured with Martina McBride and opened dates on Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's Soul2Soul tour. Taken with recent releases 'Dreams > Dollars' and 'The Variety Show Vol. 1,' "Just Getting By" and "Pull You Through" reveal a singer crafting a sound as varied and nuanced as her musical interests. "It's nice to be able to feed my creative spirit as often as I want and not be a one-dimensional artist," she says.
Price: $25.00 - $30.00