On this Tuesday’s AC we will play out a long conversation I recorded a few weeks ago with Margo Price. We were speaking between my studio and her back porch in Tennessee where she now lives. It’s geographically distanced from East Nashville and emotionally it represents a slight musical unhooking from the roots she explored on her first few albums.
Margo Price’s music has always been changing. The desire for new directions is perhaps the most consistent factor in her musical style. On her new record, Strays, the even articulates that search in a song called ‘Change of Heart.’ Despite it being less ‘country’ than her earlier releases, there’s still no doubt about what rocks Margo’s boat. Her own story is pure country and she would acknowledge that she wouldn’t be where she is today without absorbing the classic country music of the 50s and 60s as part of her constant search to find new inspiration. What I hadn’t known until I read her biography over Christmas was how long and deep a struggle it was to get her career to where her audience first encountered it.
If you can recall it was Midwest Farmer’s Daughter which introduced the world to Margo’s music. Before that, our Nashville correspondent, Bill DeMain had told us about this East Nashville act called Margo Price and The Pricetags who were causing a stir over the river. The song and video for Hurtin’ On The Bottle was the first song we played and it was that song which drew Jack White’s attention to Margo’s music leading to her signing to his Third Man Records label.
You can read all about that in Margo’s memoir, Maybe We’ll Make It, which talks about the struggle she and her musical soul-mate and husband Jeremy Ivey had to get their songs heard. It also tells the heartbreaking story of the birth and death of one of Margo and Jeremy’s twin sons, Ezra. As you can well imagine, that loss is a pain she carries with her every day. She has come a long way since that dark time thirteen years ago and the uncertainty in that book title best explains Margo’s openness to the future. She’d be the first to explain that she has no certainty that she has made it or ever will and that’s what makes her story and her music so compelling.
We talked all of that and especially about the great collection of songs she has cut on Strays. Listen out too for Margo explaining to your old fogey presenter how inspired she gets by her experiments with psychotic drugs. It will be the fourth time Margo’s been with us in the last ten years or so and as ever, it was a real pleasure to spend time in her company.
If that’s not enough we have new bluegrass, country-folk and some great down home country classics in a packed two hour show. It’s all live from five past eight this Tuesday evening on BBC Radio Scotland or whenever you fancy on BBC Sounds.