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Watch Maggie Rose Cover the Box Tops’ ‘The Letter’

Nashville vocalist transforms the 1967 gem into a gospel rave-up

“I love recording live,” Maggie Rose told Rolling Stone last year while discussing her new LP, Change the Whole Thing, over lunch. “Everyone’s holding their breath at certain points. It’s just fun.”

Live is how Rose recorded Change the Whole Thing, alongside her touring musicians and Nashville band Them Vibes, booming through the soulful and gritty tracks from start to finish, only a few takes each. And it’s how she made her version of “The Letter,” a cover of the Box Tops classic via Joe Cocker’s interpretation that lets Rose rest deep in the blues-rock pocket and push her powerful voice to its full potential. Rose captured the whole thing on video, as she did for the entire Change the Whole Thing sessions, unveiling the footage as part of a documentary on her creative process and via stand-alone clips. The album came after years of Rose struggling to have her voice heard in the myopic Nashville market, where her former labels seemed to be more worried about having a radio hit than urging her to find, and express, a unique voice.

“Any good departure will have some sort of catalyst,” she said, “and mine was a little bit of disdain for how that system had received me or not received me. I feel like I only got to leave my impression so deep. It wasn’t the kind of depth that I crave, that makes me want to make music. It’s a really singles driven world.”

Rose focused less on singles and more about creating a cohesive story and a unified mood, co-writing all of Change the Whole Thing‘s tracks, with the exception of “The Letter.”

Already working on new material, Rose will join Kelly Clarkson on tour this March.

“I’ve never had this much fun,” says Rose, “or felt there is no expiration for music than the way I feel right now.”

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