As one of the most coveted indie artists of 2016, Margaret Glaspy is not interested in the smaller details. “The only way I can think of it is like cutting all the fat off. I think that in every aspect of the record, that was the objective—to take away the excess,” the California-bred, Boston-based singer said in our recent Best of What’s Next feature. The same sentiments extend well past her songwriting—Glaspy just has a penchant for simplicity. In her recent Daytrotter Live performance, recorded back in February, Glaspy comes on stage rather unassuming, the sole musician on stage against the already dark backlighting. However, this sets the stage for her talents to illuminate from the first guitar strum.
“When I got you by my side, everything’s alright,” Glaspy starts her critically acclaimed song “Emotions and Math” just as modestly as she arrives on stage. Her idiosyncrasies seep out in drops as the song flourishes around her, “It’s just when you’re gone I start to snooze the alarm ‘cause I stay up until 4 in the morning.” Juxtaposed with her smooth alto is a slightly scratchy, twangy, bluesy guitar, and it is with Glaspy’s guitar work that humility goes out the window. Behind a still unassuming smile, Glaspy shreds and writhes around her guitar, having the best time she knows how to with only herself present. As modest as she comes off, she is far from meek. She is wittingly deceptive, which makes her such a force to witness.
Though Glaspy is classically trained in a number of different instruments, her guitar is the most natural fit. With it, she is able to tell her own stories as well as make others her own. For her cover of Lucinda Williams’ “Fruits of My Labor,” Glaspy lets the story tell itself as she guides it along with a sparse but fluid blues guitar line, her voice undulating from soft coos to throaty growls. Glaspy takes the stage on her own because she is able to fill up the entire room herself. Margaret Glaspy fares best on her own—everything else is just excess, or as she puts it, fat waiting to be trimmed.