Margo Price :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

It might have seemed like country singer Margo Price emerged out of nowhere with her 2016 album Midwest Farmer's Daughter. But the real story is more complicated than that. Price kicked around Nashville for about a decade, working odd jobs and playing with her band Buffalo Clover before signing to Jack White's Third Man Records. Those years of experience contributed the fully formed sound of her debut, and are why her second album,  All American Made, feels like an such a sure  step forward. The usual lyrical suspects of drinking, trouble-making, and wrongdoing are all here, but the album also finds Price engaging her civic voice, addressing income inequality, American history, identity, and loss. It's not entirely a reaction to the Trump Era -- she wrote the songs during the Obama years -- but it's hard not to hear the voices of the disenfranchised when Price sings, "I don't need ten million/baby, just give me one that works," on the title track, a revisited number from her past, or to apply her words, "I wonder if the president gets much sleep at night," to the current man holding the office.

Margo Price :: Weakness

The lp also furthers Price's skill as a conduit of American music. Though the echoes of Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, and Jessi Colter on Midwest Farmer's Daughter earned praise from traditionalists, Price's definition of Americana is a generous one. Threads of soul, gospel, and loose R&B run through All American Made. It's not entirely Price's country funk record, but songs like "Cocaine Cowboys" and "Do Right By Me" dig deep into that aesthetic. Which isn't to say she doesn't embody pure twang singing alongside Willie Nelson on the heartbreaking "Learning To Lose," a song that would dominate country radio were there any justice in this world.

AD reached Price at her home in Nashville, where she's preparing for the release of  All American Made,  which hits record shops Friday, October 20th. We discussed the continuum of American music, the enduring majesty of Nelson, and figured out how her strident songs fit into our current moment.

Aquarium Drunkard: You worked on the songs for Midwest Farmer’s Daughter for a very long time. Did the new songs for All American Made come fast?

Margo Price: Well, my husband [Jeremy Ivey] and I are always writing all the time. We’ve just made it our mantra throughout life to write as much as possible. I look at writing songs almost like people would look at practicing guitar: the more you practice, the more songs you write, the sharper you are going to be at your craft. I think these songs came pretty naturally because I was so thrilled to finally have an audience. It didn’t feel like, “Oh, I have writer’s block” or something like that. It [finally] felt like my work would be discovered before I’m dead.

AD:  That’s always a good feeling.

Margo Price: Yeah, we had been working on some of these songs even back around when that album was finally being released, because it took a while from when the Midwest Farmer’s Daughter was recorded to the time it was actually put out. We were just still writing that whole time. Even on tour, we were making a point of keeping up with it. Jack White actually gave me really great advice. He said, “I know you're really busy right now and playing a lot of shows and on the road constantly, but keep writing because you are going to be experiencing a lot of new feelings that you’ve never had before, so you want to document that and encapsulate it.”

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