REVIEW: Mary Margaret Cozart: ‘Emerald City’

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There have been times over the past year that I’ve felt like a parked car in the middle of the interstate. The world keeps moving forward, just as fast as before, but I’m stagnant. It’s a feeling I think is common among young adults during the pandemic. Their metamorphosis from child to adult was interrupted to return to childhood bedrooms, yet we are expected to come out of this time unaffected. Mary Margaret Cozart’s debut EP, Emerald City intimately explores this arrested development.

An Atlanta native, Cozart came to Athens, Georgia to study classical guitar and music business at the University of Georgia. Like the rest of us, when UGA’s campus shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic Cozart retreated home. It was here, in the confines of her childhood bedroom that Cozart came full circle, writing songs in the same place she had begun years earlier. Emerald City, Cozart’s debut five-track EP was released today, now available for purchase on Bandcamp and streaming platforms. The EP is intended to “address facets of the pandemic crisis and draw parallels to the Wizard of Oz.

To be frank, the parallels to the Wizard of Oz are vague at best. Listening to the tracks searching for parallels to the film left me with a headache and questioning my position as a Judy Garland stan. However, once I dropped the search for deeper meaning I found it almost immediately.

Wake up, silly boy, you can’t hide away forever

You know what you’ve got to do

I know you’ve struck out maybe more than the next

But that’s no reason not to pick up where you left.

If I’m a parked car on the interstate, “Like You Should” speaks to the cacophony of honking horns demanding I move. Cozart’s melodic voice seems to address the listener directly, offering both understanding and encouragement to find the strength to reclaim our lives after this forced hiatus.

Fans of Madison Cunningham, Sara Watkins and Faye Webster can find understanding in Cozart’s silvery voice and skilled guitar as we come to terms with who we are and how we’ve changed over the course of the last year. As someone who relies on artists to convey the feelings I am incapable to name, I look forward to seeing what deeply personal, yet universal message Cozart captures next.

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