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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Marguerite puts her focus on quality instead of quantity

Kari Marguerite performs Saturday at The Shop.
Kari Marguerite performs Saturday at The Shop.

After settling into motherhood and refocusing her music, Kari Marguerite is taking a less-is-more approach into the new year.

“Since I had my daughter, Lucy, it’s not that music is on the back burner, but when and if I can perform it has to be fun for me otherwise I don’t want to play for four hours,” she said. “That is taking time away from my family if I am not expressing my creativity and doing my own music.” Deciding between babysitting money and gig money has caused a shift in priorities for the bandleader of local jazz-pop powerhouse Kari Marguerite and the 76. And she’s resolved to the idea that sometimes the smaller show carries more weight.

“I want more quality over quantity in performing live. Last thing I want is to be thinking, ‘Gosh, I don’t want to play this music tonight,’ where it seems more like a chore,” she said. “It’s supposed to be expressive of your passions and joy and too many club gigs can get in the way of that.”

Marguerite is getting her goal in motion on the first Saturday of 2013 with the latest installment of her all-women singer-songwriter showcase at The Shop.

Marguerite and Angela Marie (of the Angela Marie Project) both typically perform with full bands, but Saturday’s show will feature artists performing in a singer-songwriter circle format.

“When I’m doing these venues that let the artists express themselves I like to get together with other artists I admire in that area and do a co-show where we split the time,” Marguerite said. “That’s what I’m doing this weekend with Angela Marie and Suhanna. We’re all performing original music in a storyteller setup where we can explain the writing of the songs and let the audience see the inner workings of your head.”

The Shop is an ideal setting for Marguerite’s artist-driven initiative to promote fellow female voices, she said.

“I love that you don’t have to be pressured into playing cover music (at The Shop). We can play our own music to an attentive crowd full of people who appreciate music and come out to hear original stuff. It’s a really intimate, unique connection with the audience.”

In addition to being more selective about the number of shows she plays and where she plays them, Marguerite is aiming to put an emphasis on the jazz-aspect of her dirty-jazz-soul-pop-sass sound.

“I have been in the process, before I had Lucy, of writing songs with a more jazz-based sound,” she said. “Then I got into writing sappy love songs to my daughter. I still have a lot of that going and I want to do a short EP of five or seven jazz-based songs, including a couple of covers.”

Also on Marguerite’s horizon is integrating the accordion she got for Christmas into the refined sound.

“I like smooth jazz with the element of violin. That has always been appealing to me,” she said. “A lot of stuff that I’m hearing in my head sounds like the romantic melancholy in the accordion. … We’ll see how it goes.”

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