It’s only been a couple of months since her Weakness EP, but Margo Price already has a new batch of buffalo herdin’ ditties for us. With a voice that communicates both innocence and irony so finely, let alone an ear for poignant choruses, it’s clear why she’s so revered in the country scene at the moment. As with her previous material, All American Made is out on Jack White’s Third Man Records.
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A country newcomer who shot her way to acclaim real quick, Margo Price is one of Nashville’s finest artists right now, and is somehow able to communicate country music from her corner all the way to here in Leeds, where Americanisms are few and far between amongst the constant and overwhelming yelps of “Yorkshire!”. Her second record, ‘All American Made’, as a tour-de-force of eschewed tradition, taking the hallmarks of country rock -- and even some of its icons -- and using them for a record of political ironies and disputes. This record takes its homely and twanging cliches and turns them against Trump, economic misogyny and more, making for a record even deeper than its roots.
The arrangements are beautiful and often startling. Guitars tremble and often teeter off the edges of their tradition, as on the righteously bitter and eye-rolling “Pay Gap”. On “Nowhere Fast”, precise picking patterns are met with guitars that wah and twinkle, the track ascending with a climax that feels both floaty and fiery. On a six minute duet that involves outlaw country legend Willie Nelson, she creates one of her best tunes yet, all out of her genre standards: it rests on moaning guitars and rhetorical chants of “Is winning really learning to lose?” -- a simple message simply presented, but proof of her ability to grow poignant moments organically.
It’s a real good listen, one that sounds floaty and kindly but carries and faces particular burdens. It’s only made super obvious on the final track “All American Made”, a pointed political attack that samples presidential chatter amidst a slow-burning downpour of verses not dissimilar from a Dylan treatise. It's a proper ending to a record that will often feel like a good-time country record but will just as likely elicit a big ol' "huh" out of you.
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