ACL Review: Margaret Glaspy

Rawer fruit of songwriting labors

During her 50-minute performance on the BMI stage early Saturday afternoon, Margaret Glaspy ran through the entirety of this year’s debut LP, Emotions and Math (ATO). It was a pair of covers, however – from Lucinda Williams and Björk – that best captured the unique dichotomy and reach of the Californian’s powerful perspective and voice.

Photo by Shelley Hiam

Glaspy launched with the title track from her debut, and it took several songs for her voice to warm to full range. Her gravelly growl paired with high trilling power initially faltered, and the levels of her backing bass and drums hit slightly off balance, but by the smooth hook of “Pins and Needles” and slow loping groove of “Parental Guidance,” the trio found its footing and brought home an impressive set.

“No Matter Who” lifted a jazzy pop that hearkened Kat Edmonson, but in delivering Williams’ “Fruits of My Labor,” Glaspy’s mix of strength and vulnerability found a perfect counterpart. Likewise with her own “Black Is Blue.” The cover of Björk’s “Who is It” rolled into a ragged jam from the trio as Glaspy shredded guitar.

At times, the band could’ve used more firepower with an additional guitarist to fill out the sound, but Glaspy revels in a rawer power, whether in the high lilt of “Anthony,” slinky rhythm of “Love Like This,” or the brilliant bite of “You and I.” She broils unbridled power that can break in any direction at any moment.

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