Margo Price – All American Made
While the world fell apart in 1968, bold women took over the country music charts. Between April 20 and Dec. 7, Loretta Lynn’s “Fist City,” Tammy Wynette’s “D-I-V-O-R-C-E ” and “Stand By Your Man,” and Jeannie C. Riley’s “Harper Valley P.T.A.” reached number one. Each song shattered any illusion that women in county had to be polite to be heard. Nearly 50 years later, Margo Price’s music mirrors those great artists’ songs about real-life women, dealing with circumstances that aren’t always pretty or poetic.
All American Made, Price’s sophomore effort for Third Man Records, probably lacks a number one single. That has something to do with tomatoes and lettuce, we’re told. Still, Price has a platform to be heard, and she’s using it to sing songs about sexism in the workplace (“Wage Gap”) and struggling laborers from all walks of life (“Heart of America”). It’s this fearlessness, not label affiliation or gender, that makes Price the next best thing to Loretta Lynn.
Elsewhere on the album, Price demonstrates equal measures of defiance (“Don’t Say It”) and vulnerability (“Weakness”). She addresses her drive to keep working hard despite the glass ceiling that separates some artists from success (“A Little Pain”) before mocking the pretend rednecks around Nashville with a clearer shot at stardom (“Cocaine Cowboys”). By album’s end, listeners should empathize with Price’s fears, applaud her strengths, and despise the hypocrisies in her crosshairs.
Price’s finest release to date punctuates a stellar year for women in country music. Heck, even the newest Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton albums sound great in part because of their wives. Likewise, Price’s husband and guitarist Jeremy Ivey furthers the family business. Ivey and the rest of the band serve as allies, helping Price spread messages that, frustratingly, would have struck a similar nerve in 1968.
All American Made