Margo Price is a country music sensation, there is just no getting around it, but she has come to it the hard way.
Hailing from Aledo, Illinois, her Allmusic bio states that she dropped out of college at the age of 20 in 2003 and moved to Nashville to pursue her musical dreams. She formed the band Buffalo Clover with bassist husband Jeremy Ivey in 2010, which released three albums until the breakup of the band in 2013. Personal tragedy then intervened with the death of her firstborn son to a heart ailment. After that unfathomable heartbreak her website bio confesses that she fell into a deep depression that involved alcohol abuse and a brush with her darker side that pitted her against the law. Coming through that period with the help of family and friends led her to the conclusion that she was “going to write music that I want to hear. It was a big turning point.”
Pain, heartbreak, tragedy, hardscrabble experience all lay the foundation for great art. It is a great artist who can channel the energy from that passion and pain into their art without spinning out of control or falling into self-pity. Margo Price is a great artist with an amazing instrument of a voice and it is great art that is achieved with her solo album entitled Midwest Farmer’s Daughter.
The first song from the album is entitled “Hands of Time” and here she is performing it at SXSW thanks to NPR Music Front Row:
My first impression of the video is that she looks and sounds for all the world much like the reincarnation of a young Lesley Gore. One could make references to the obvious influence of Loretta Lynn, informed by the modernist attitude of a Kasey Musgraves. But I say this with a great deal of self-doubt, because the music for this album is so special and so singular, that is sounds both familiar and new. Margo Price has created her own tradition and it will be interesting to see where she goes from here. For the fact of the matter is that her songs could be sung by either a man or a woman, and that’s what makes them special. Rather than speaking from a overtly female perspective, as much of female country music has done in the past, Ms. Price speaks from the heart of some great consciousness that speaks to feelings and experiences that we all understand, with which we can empathize, and which we feel in our own psyches.
For something a bit more energetic, here she is performing “Tennessee Song”, also from SWSW 2016 and NPR.
Finally, here she is on CBS This Morning from March 26, 2016 performing “Since You Put Me Down” where she channels the spirit of Hank Williams Sr. and other country music pioneers.