Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Album Review: Margo Price- Midwest Farmer's Daughter

Margo Price
Midwest Farmer's Daughter
**** out of *****

During the opening track to Margo Price's excellent debut album the singer/songwriter spells it out perfectly well through tried and true country tropes. Times are tough, she is broke, the farm is lost as is her first born and yearning for the past is all this troubled woman can do. If "Hands of Time"  sounds a cliche never fear; Price has the skill to take these well worn images and make them sound fresh and immediate to the listener over lush production backed by top notch playing.

Self financed and recorded on literal last personal dimes at the famous Sun Studios, it is a joy that this album was picked up and released through Third Man Records so the world can hear Price's throwback version of Nashville country; the way it outta be. The obvious reference to Price's singing, writing and embodying these tales is Loretta Lynn ("About to Find Out" makes that reference stunningly obvious) but there are all different country heroes at work here, or as Price has mentioned she is just writing music she wants to hear.

"Since You Put Me Down" is a classic duel with alcohol, that could have come from the mind of the booze soaked George Jones, but sounds dynamite here as does the stomping "Tennessee Song". The swagger and a bit of wah-wah guitar kicks up for "Four Years Of Chances" as Price struts confidently.  Her voice is winning mix of Southern accent with clipped directness that brings the story to the forefront.

The track that pushes her vocal boundaries (but still stays in her range is) "How The Mighty Have Fallen", working despite its dramatic/cheesy arraignment. There is a mandatory dig at the Nashville music scene (every throw back album needs one of these right?) with "This Town Gets Around" and it does its job of pulling back the skeezy curtain while "Weekender" cuts to the quick about getting arrested.

The first single pulls it all together as "Hurtin' (On The Bottle)" lets Price sing like Dolly Parton, tackling the pain of boozing and getting older while smirking all the way. These songs all may or may not be from personal trials and tribulations (Price has had a few) but it doesn't matter as the listener can confidently feel everything; the true touch of a world class songwriter.

A stunningly confident debut disk from Price and company that takes the best of country musics past and brings it into today's light, just like Jason Isbell in that regard. Margo is one to watch for sure, and I sure do hope this Midwest Farmer's Daughter gets back more then just her old farm.
Country isn't our forte here but good music is and that is what Midwest Farmer's Daughter is just that. Damn good Americana. Support the artist, buy the album and peep some videos:

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