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Album/Single Reviews

Margo Price – Midwest Farmer’s Daughter



Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 14.10.32Overnight success? Not at all. More a tale of perseverance and an ambition to succeed against the odds.

The opening track on this debut solo album from Illinois native Margo Price is her autobiography. Try to listen to it in a good mood because it’s not a heart warming story.

She has been striving for a breakthrough for the past 10 years. She has been a regular on the Nashville circuit but until now she has been ignored by labels and country radio. It seems all of that is about to change.

Her life story is made for country music song-writing.

‘Hands Of Time’, the aforementioned opening track sets the scene. Her Dad lost the family farm. She left home with very little money and made her way to Nashville. The streets were not paved with gold and she mixed with the wrong crowd. Drank too much, moved in with a married man and tragically lost one her twin sons at a very early age. Oh, she also had a short stint in jail.

With such material it’s little wonder that the album’s opener is an epic introduction to Margo as an artist and the 11 tracks that make up ‘Midwest Farmers Daughter’.

In interviews, she describes pawning her wedding ring, selling the car and remortgaging the family home to raise funds to produce this album. It seems like a last shot of the dice but with a life story like this, maybe not.

Her big break came when Third Man Records founder Jack White agreed a deal that seems to have changed her life. She is now performing, not in the bars and stages of East Nashville, but in the major network studios. She is due to appear as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live and has already appeared on CBS. It doesn’t actually get much bigger.

Although this album is her solo debut, her 10 years working the Nashville “scene” has developed close associations. She played in the band Buffalo Cover which included Sturgill Simpson as a backing musician and also worked with her husband in a band called Secret Handshake.

Her style is traditional. The inevitable comparison with Loretta Lynn’s ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ will inevitably be made.

We also get a reasonable taste of country-soul and 60’s pop.

She has suggested that her “Secret Handshake” days were influenced by Brit Pop 60’s bands such as the Kinks but this album is also full of classic honky-tonk with fiddle and steel dominating. It really doesn’t get more country than ‘Since You Put Me Down’ or the first single release ‘Hurtin’(on the bottle)’. Check out the video below.

‘This Town Gets Around’ tells a very anti-establishment view of the Nashville music scene, told from the viewpoint of someone who has suffered all the knock-backs.

‘How The Mighty Have Fallen’ is a retro pop song that has the 60’s clichés and brings to mind something that Dusty Springfield may have recorded back in the day.

We have lamented the lack of opportunities for female singers in Nashville and it’s refreshing to hear someone who hasn’t compromised her style or sound.

It’s also exciting to hear that Margo is coming over to perform for us here in the UK. She will be appearing at The Great Escape music festival in Brighton which takes place between the 19-21 May, and she will also be performing at two London venues, The Borderline on 23 May and The Social on the 24 May.

Well worth checking out for a first view of someone who will certainly become a household name in the country music world very soon.

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