Margo Price

Midwest Farmer's Daughter

Label Third Man Genre America & Canada Cat no. tmr339cd

Includes Rough Trade Exclusive 6 track Live At RTE bonus CD

£12.99

Albums of the Year 2016 No: 3

First impressions matter. Especially on a debut album. Time and attention-strapped listeners size up an artist within a song or two, then move on or delve in further. Fortunately, it only takes Margo Price about twenty-eight seconds to convince you that you're hearing the arrival of a singular new talent. Hands of Time, the opener on Midwest Farmer's Daughter, is an invitation, a mission statement and a starkly poetic summary of the 32-year old singer's life, all in one knockout, self-penned punch. Easing in over a groove of sidestick, bass and atmospheric guitar, Price sings, "When I rolled out of town on the unpaved road, I was fifty-seven dollars from bein' broke . . ." It has the feel of the first line of a great novel or opening scene in a classic film. There's an expectancy, a brewing excitement. And as the song builds, strings rising around her, Price recalls hardships and heartaches - the loss of her family's farm, the death of her child, problems with men and the bottle.

There is no self-pity or over-emoting. Her voice has that alluring mix of vulnerability and resilience that was once the province of Loretta and Dolly. It is a tour-de-force performance that is vivid, deeply moving and all true. From the honky tonk comeuppance of About To Find Out, to the rockabilly-charged This Town Gets Around to the weekend twang of Hurtin' (On The Bottle), Price adds fresh twists to classic Nashville country, with a sound that could've made hits in any decade. Meanwhile, the hard-hitting blues grooves of Four Years of Chances and Tennessee Song push the boundaries further west to Memphis (the album was recorded at the legendary Sun Studio).