Margo Price’s 2017 album, All American Made, was an album I liked quite a bit when it came out, but I never got around to writing about it. This might have just been part of an aversion to writing about genres I’m not as much of an expert on coupled with the fact that Price’s traditionally solid singer-songwriter style isn’t exactly the juiciest style of music to write about. Which, of course, isn’t fair. So before I let another very good Margo Price LP pass us by, let’s take a look at yet another album whose release was affected by the coronavirus.
I suppose the thing that’s been refreshing about Margo Price is evident in the name of her debut album, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter. Price grew up on a farm before her family was hit hard by the farm crisis of the ’80s, which seems to inform a lot of her working-class lyrics as well as the cynicism towards rural communities’ exploitation she wrote about on All American Made. However, after epitomizing this kind of songwriting in this previous album’s title track about as perfectly as one could, it seems Price’s songs have taken a turn toward more relationship-based topics on That’s How Rumors Get Started.
This would seem to be another homage to the country artists of the ’60s and ’70s that Price has been influenced by, since feisty love songs seemed to be a hallmark of that era. However, she doesn’t appear all that interested in rehashing country music’s past on this album, which unsurprisingly is another act of Price rebuking country’s conservative tendencies. She’s said that she wanted to make an album that was less country-sounding due to the rampant sexism that has plagued the industry, looking to embrace a more rock-oriented sound.
This sees her teaming up with another country-turned-rock artist, Sturgill Simpson — whose ZZ Top-sounding album from last year I couldn’t really get into — as he serves as producer on Rumors. However, the “rock-ier” touches here are actually fairly restrained, which I think serves Price’s songs well. The arrangements are a bit bigger, but Price’s voice is more than game, sounding more boisterous and powerful while the album’s stirring final track “I’d Die For You” is the best example of this. After hearing that not only Simpson but Price’s husband came down with COVID after a tornado rocked her hometown of Nashville, the song is a nice testament to the idea that love can conquer all, or at least endure it.