“How does a lead singer change a lightbulb?”, asks Margo Price’s harmonica blowing husband during a break between songs. “She just holds the damn thing up and waits for the world to spin round her and screw it in” he explains, to his wife’s visible delight. For this is a night of smiles for Margo Price, who despite introducing a new album full of true-life tales of bad men, worse choices, and trouble with the bottle, looks and sounds like there isn’t a happier person on Earth.
She has plenty to smile about, not least being born with the voice of an angel, assuming God’s lieutenants croon with a Tennessee twang. Her astonishing debut album last year turned her into a cult star after long years “doing all the bad jobs, bustin’ my ass”. Hearing the follow up, ‘All American Made’, for the first time at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade East last night markontour can only assume she is now destined for superstardom.
The new material carrys on where ‘A Midwest Farmer’s Daughter’ left off, with songs like ‘Weakness’ detailing Margo’s predeliction for getting in trouble, and ‘Cocaine Cowboys’ suggesting she still keeps some dubious company. But there is also a lot of politics on this album, from a call for equal pay for women, to the Born in the USA-esque title song, ‘All American Made’. There’s also a bundle of John Cougar-like laments about the decline of mid-western smallholdings, which act as a bridge between the old(er) and new material.
In short it’s not your normal country fare and all the better for it. Yet the band certainly look like they’re from Nashville, replete with Dobro, slide guitar, and those cowboy shirts with pearl buttons and mirror image embroidery under the lapels, and Margo Price couldn’t sing anything but country if she tried.
All in all it was cracking stuff and after a wonderful set at Glastonbury and two brilliant albums, plus in recognition of her visible joy at just being allowed on stage to sing, I hereby declare Margo Price markontour’s favourite country singer. At least until Caitlin Rose puts out a new song..