When: Fri., March 3, 8 p.m. 2017
These days, country music seems to exist as one of two strains. There's the brash, bro-heavy stuff on the radio, designed for the masses, and the underdog songs you'd hear in the back of a beer-soaked dive bar in the middle of nowhere, music that's guided more by raw honesty than Top 40 payouts. That's the kind of country music Margo Price makes.
On Midwest Farmer's Daughter, her first solo album, Price opens her door and invites listeners right into her home. Each of these eleven songs is as soul-shaking and brutal as the last. Her sound ranges from Dolly to Waylon, but some songs, like "Tennessee Song" or "Four Years of Chances," feel closer to Stevie Nicks.
Across Midwest Farmer's Daughter, Price reckons with mistakes and failures, and the lessons that come with learning you can never solve your loved ones' problems or protect them the way you think they deserve. Despite walking the well-traveled path of country music stereotypes—love, loss, heartbreak, the realization that it's your fault you're alone—Price spins her songs so that all of these ideas feel new again.
Price's music has a quiet power, too, perhaps because of how familiar her story sounds. By laying it all out on the line and coming clean about her hard childhood, losing a son, drinking, going to jail, going to rehab, and working as a songwriter in Nashville, Price paints a vivid picture of the complexity of being a woman in the country music industry. She's honest about her struggles, opening herself up to being judged selfish and reckless, but she refuses to water down any of her experiences or sugarcoat them to make them go down easier. It's a quality for which many legends like Haggard, Cash, and Waylon are revered, living fast and hard and only really slowing down to die. Price breathes life back into that tradition simply by getting on stage and introducing herself. —Annalise Domeghenini