Review: Margo Price stuns with second album

Jeffrey Petrone

Staff Writer

 

In 2016, almost out of nowhere, an unknown country singer named Margo Price released her first album.
Now, in 2017, Price has returned with her second effort, “All American Made.”
The album finds the singer getting political, but still writing some of the best songs in modern country music. It is filled with great lines such as “Sometimes my weakness is stronger than me,” on the song “Weakness.”
“All American Bad” does not fail as a political effort the way so many albums often do.
Songs like “Pay Gap” and “All American Made” have their intended punch, and they are great songs. However, they lack the “wow” effect of songs like “Hands Of Time.”
There are still tinged-of-soul and psychedelic grooves that add character.
“Cocaine Cowboys,” while somewhat lacking in the lyrics department, works as a great groove.
The album is by all means better than her first, but more than anything the album is different.
Nothing else on the album is quite as direct as “Tennessee Song,” even though the album’s title track is quite a poignant number.
A bold move is the pairing of Price and Willie Nelson on the track “Learning To Lose.” Despite their 50-year age difference, the duo gel musically. Price’s production style is often reminiscent of 1970s country recordings made by the likes of Nelson.
Some might be put off by the album, and Price in general, after her performance on NPR’s Tiny Desk the morning after the 2016 presidential election.
Yet, after getting rejected by nearly every record label in Nashville and still releasing one of last year’s best albums, it is hard to take those concerns seriously at all. This is especially true in regards to an album that is so gut-wrenchingly beautiful and clearly pained.
Price is no Kasey Musgraves, but she is no Luke Combs or Jason Aldean either. Her closest companions are Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson. Still, she continues to operate in a distinctly unique corner of modern country music, especially with songs like “Heart Of America.”
Of everything on the album, the best song would have to be “Nowhere Fast.” The song is swaying and slow, but as it builds, Price’s voice lingers and floats increasingly over the track.
These are songs that are slow growers. They just keep getting better as time goes on.
Though Price has compared herself to Nick Drake, hopefully it will not take her 30 years for her to get proper recognition.
The album artwork is amazing. Even the paper it is printed on is enchanting in its own way.
The lyric sheet too is worth looking over; the lyrics to “All American Made” are superimposed over a map of the United States.
If albums like Simpson’s “A Sailor’s Guide To Earth” and this one represent what is to come for country music, the future is bright.
It is highly recommended that anything recorded by Margo Price be listened to by anyone with functioning ears. Even if you hate country music, listen to Margo Price.
Rating: 8/10.

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