On March 25th this week Third Man Records, the labeled owned by Jack White, released Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, the debut album from Margo Price. It’s getting a lot of buzz this week among critics and Nashville music hawks, and for good reason.
Margo Price is originally from Aledo, Illinois; for us in Cedar Rapids that puts us about two hours from her home town, going east from Muscatine. Whatever regionalism is worth I felt an affinity with Margo Price from the get go. Her parents owned a farm but then lost it when she was very young, her father then taking a job at the local prison. She moved to Nashville early on after dropping out of college and started playing in bands. First was one called Buffalo Clover, and then later Margo and the Price Tags. She met her husband while playing in these bands and she later gave birth to twins. Tragically one of the twins died as an infant and thus began a retreat from the music industry for Price. Eventually she wrote the songs on this album, convinced her husband to sell their car and spent the money recording the album at Sun records in Memphis. She shopped it around and the only one with interest was White and his people at Third Man Records.
This album makes me feel like I’m a kid again in the back of my mom’s Plymouth Fury listening to seventies country radio. All of her reviews have generally had the same throwback comparisons: Loretta Lynn, Dolly, and a little bit of Waylon. I won’t tell you anything different along those lines. If you love the bouffant soul of Nashville that rips out feminist licks while giving you a million dollar smile and the best western shirt you’ve seen in forty winks this is the album for you. Hurtin’ (On The Bottle) is probably the most catchy song on the album but I found myself wanting to sing along to Weekender and Tennessee Song as well. The final song, World’s Greatest Loser, hits hard considering her personal background but brings to mind one of my favorite things about good country music: sometimes it’s the screw ups that make for the best stories. You can keep today’s country radio, I’ll keep looking for artists like Margo Price that sing with a hurt that can only be expressed properly through a slide guitar. This album is on order at the library and should be in fairly soon-