Margo Price played the intimate Hotel Cafe two days before the release of her debut solo album, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter.
Thereâ€™s a new sheriff in town and her name is Margo Price. Straight out of the super group, Buffalo Clover (which also consisted of Sturgill Simpson and Kenny Vaughan), Price busts down the walls for women in country music with a wrecking ball and lands herself on Jack Whiteâ€™s record label, Third Man Records. She debuted her first solo album, Midwest Farmerâ€™s Daughter, two days before the albumâ€™s release at the legendary Hotel CafÃ© in Hollywood, California.
In an industry where females are usually mandated to being sexy, sweet and/or submissive to be heard, Price isnâ€™t having any of it. Songs like “Desperate and Depressed” are a shout-out against all of those stereotypes. Price is powerfully talented, wise, and has enough life experience to tell her truth without obsequious masquerades. She is an enigma, and yet, precisely what Americana music needs; an authentic, modern woman who is busy making good art. Ameripolitan music voters agree, awarding her Best Female Honky Tonk Artist this year.
Backed by an all-male band, Price opened her show at Hotel Cafe with “About to Find Out,” a perfectly unrefined song about someone being put in his or her place. Anyone in the packed room who didnâ€™t know Margoâ€™s music before got a heaping teaspoon of her bitter honey with that song.
She covered some Jessi Colter, Neil Young, and George Jones flawlessly, but it was Priceâ€™s more personal material that induced crowd reactions. “Four Years of Chances,” a song about a woman who has tried to commit to a cagey man, is the kind of song only a candid, man-loving woman could sing, and the crowd loved it.
Priceâ€™s playlist had an intelligent lure as she finished her show with her hit single “Hurtin’ on the Bottle.” The stories, so masterfully woven, caused most people to forget about the song by the time she got there. An undertone moved through the room of “Oh yeah!” and “I canâ€™t believe I forgot about this one!” We were stunned bandits captured by the power of her refreshingly fierce vulnerability.
Though she has been compared to many great female legends, Dolly Parton seems to have been her biggest influence and can be heard throughout the album, especially in “Four Years of Chances.” But too much comparison is a trap with Price. She has a unique sound, and itâ€™s not one of an underdog. She is at the perfect place in time to tell her story with songs like “This Town Gets Around,” lyrical truths about female artists in Nashville being used, and “Hands of Time,” which reflects the sad reality of a girl who wants to buy the lost farm back for her parents. The plethora of women who can relate to these songs is probably higher than any of us will admit. Thank God Price has chosen to be that voice. She wears the badge with honor.
Photos by Matt Stasi