- 14 Nov 17
The Price is right...
Lest there be any question about Margo Price’s country credentials, her Daddy loses the family farm a minute into the opening track on her debut album, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, which arrived early last year. Price sold off pretty much everything she had to finance that album’s recording with no great expectations, just the hope of doing something worthwhile.
Recorded at Sun in Memphis, mixed in Ardent Studios, and released on Jack White’s Third Man label, the album achieved rock snob bingo by default before anyone heard a note. Despite that potential handicap, it engendered critical accolades, tours with Grammy winning country howler Chris Stapleton, and appearances on Saturday Night Live and Later With Jools Holland.
This follow-up continues where the debut left off. ‘Don’t Say It’ and ‘Weakness’ could easily be mistaken for prime era Loretta Lynn, and the jaunty, Levon Helm-quoting ‘A Little Pain’ has shades of ’70s Dolly Parton. ‘Pay Gap’ slips into waltz time on the chorus, emphasising its message of equality, while ‘Cocaine Cowboys’ is a rueful warning about barroom idiots.
‘Learning To Lose’ is a beautiful duet with Willie Nelson – a man who could sing you your tax bill and you’d still call out for more - and the lump-in-the-throat title track reprises the story of the lost farm, weaving it into a wider narrative that takes in Reagan selling weapons to Iran and the welfare nation, blending the singer’s personal journey with that of her country.
Price has acknowledged Emmylou Harris and Bobbie Gentry, as well as the already mentioned Lynn and Parton, as formative influences. This fine record does them all proud.