Like many country records, Cut to Impress, the debut album from 25-year-old Maggie Rose, opens with a story of young love and a little white chapel. After four lines, however, the story takes a dramatic turn: the boy catches a bullet and the girl washes ashore on a nearby riverbank, while the deacon killer resides in the very chapel where another songwriter might have set a wedding.
Born in Maryland and influenced by artists like Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert, Rose got her start covering Kings of Leon, getting her music onto Disney dance show Shake It Up, and playing with a Bruce Springsteen cover act. In 2011, under birth name Margaret Durante, her first song, breakup plea "Mississippi's Crying," made it onto the country charts; in 2012, "I Ain't Your Mama," the lead single off Cut to Impress, brought her into the Top 30. Elsewhere on the record, "Hollywood" flips another genre convention, suggesting that Tinseltown -- that land of broken dreams and marriages -- is actually kinda country, and "I Know Better Now" displays an impressive range that suggests this singer might find success on not only country radio but adult contemporary as well.