A good song writer writes from the heart. A great song writer writes from a broken heart.
Margo Price’s third studio album “That’s How Rumors Get Started” (released today) makes me feel like taking a road trip in my dad’s old Pontiac, so I could crank up the tape deck and sing along. Produced by Sturgill Simpson, it manages to convey a sense of timelessness which is what great records do. Almost every song could’ve been written in any decade from the 70’s to the present. Margo seems to have captured flavours of all my favourite artists ranging from Sheryl Crow and Tom Petty to Jackson Browne and Stevie Nicks. Although she’s classified as a country artist, this album has very strong rock, blues and even Gospel elements. It is a record for music lovers of all genres, one that Margo should be very proud of whether it is commercially successful or not, because it comes from a long and bumpy road full of hard work, love and authenticity.
Before she was a Grammy nominated country artist, Margo Price endured more than her fair share of struggles. Her parents lost their farm in the 80’s (remember Farm Aid?) when she was a small child. Then she quit college and moved to Nashville with hopes of becoming a singer/songwriter. She had no idea how long it would take and how difficult the journey would be.
She waited tables, slept in a tent and even stole to survive. When she gave birth to twin boys, one of them didn’t survive and that postpartum downfall resulted in a whiskey-fuelled car crash which landed her in prison. Before she was even 30, Margo’s life made Johnny Cash’s biography look like a Disney cruise. As part of the “Outlaw Country Renaissance” she has also collaborated with Willie Nelson on both music and his cannabis brand Willie’s Reserve.
Her first album “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter” was released in 2016 on Jack White’s label Third Man Records. Margo had to pawn her wedding ring to fund the record. He also produced Loretta Lynn’s “Van Lear Rose” in 2004.
Although she lists Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Janis Joplin and Bobbie Gentry as major influences, Margo’s voice has been often compared to Loretta Lynn’s.
“That’s How Rumors Get Started” was supposed to be released in May but was delayed due to a some more unfortunate circumstances. On March 2nd her town in Nashville was hit by a tornado. A week later the coronavirus pandemic hit.
On April 7, dear friend and mentor John Prine died from complications of the coronavirus. And shortly after her husband and band mate Jeremy Ivey was struck by the virus. At one point he became so weak and thin that she thought he wasn’t going to make it. All the while, Margo was nursing her daughter (born in June 2019) and taking care of her 9-year-old son.
Margo has more than proven herself as a singer/songwriter. Her voice can be soft and sweet yet raw and powerful. Her lyrics can be delicate yet acidic. She has that rare gift of appearing vulnerable yet defiant. In the spirit of Bruce Springsteen’s “The River” and Bonnie Raitt’s Luck of The Draw”, this album celebrates Margo’s honesty and unapologetic nature with her gift of storytelling. What I really love though, is that most of these tracks can be sung by men or women.
The first/title track “That’s How Rumours Get Started” has a Stevie Nicks feel. Margo’s voice is both sweet and strong as she calmly calls someone out on their bullshit.
“Letting Me Down” could have easily been written by Tom Petty. From the guitar twang to the melancholic chorus;
“Every body’s lonely
Oh babe just look around
You got a way, you got a way
You got a way of letting me down”
“Twinkle Twinkle” (released March 11th) starts off with a Jack White style guitar riff and continues with some bold and catchy lyrics.
“If don’t break you
it might just make you rich
you might not get there
but on the way it’s a bitch”
“Stone Me” is an intimate and sensitive
Reflection while “Hey Child” gets emotional with a Gospel like choir and piano.
“Heartless Mind” doesn’t sound like any of the other tracks with its 80’s keyboard intro and crazy guitar riffs.
“What Happened To Our Love?” Is one of my favourite tracks with its bluesy Tom petty vibe and dramatic lyrics.
“you were the medicine
and I was the cancer”
“Gone to Stay” is my other favourite with its classic rock/Jackson Browne road trip sing-along feel.
“Prisoner of The Highway” is the most “country” sounding track. It has great back-up vocals and I could imagine how much better it would sound with a live audience singing along.
“I’d Die For You” is the final track and showcases Margo’s powerful vocal ability. As indicated in the title, it is quite dramatic and could easily be sung by Bono. It’s one of those powerhouse songs that closes a concert with everyone on their feet, weeping and cheering. It is a song that I would love to hear live. Hopefully one day…until then I’ll crank it up in the car and go for a long drive.
Review: Annette AghazarianShare this :