It’s only been 18 months since Margo Price released her debut solo album, but the Nashville-based singer-songwriter still has a lifetime of experience to draw on for the upbeat, vintage groove of ‘All American Made’. 2016’s ‘Midwest Farmer’s Daughter’ saw her recount tales both tragic and true and its follow-up is equally open – with inequality in the workplace, drinking too much and annoying hipsters all finding themselves in Price’s lyrical firing line. Channelling confessional country music’s greats – Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette – this is an album that ignores the past 40 years and the rise of stadium country, preferring to hark back to the genre’s more authentic beginnings.
It’s a pretty solid base to build on, but weaving in the soulful swagger of the iconic Muscle Shoals Sound Studio – where everyone from Aretha Franklin to The Rolling Stones got their groove on – she adds a warmth that it’s impossible not to want to snuggle up next to. The hard-boozing ‘Weakness’ is a case in point, with boogie-woogie piano, twanging guitar and some fired-up fiddle all contributing to the rowdy hoedown.
Blessed by a country great in the shape of Willie Nelson, who lends his tender croon to the soft, sad shuffle of ‘Learning To Lose’ – as well as being co-signed by Jack White, who’s releasing the album on his Third Man Records label – ‘All American Made’ finds itself firmly plugged in to Nashville tradition. It’s not a direct missive from 1971, though: the fiercely feminist ‘Pay Gap’ tackles the disparity between male and female pay cheques (“You say that we live in the land of the free / Sometimes that bell don’t ring true”) like Patsy Cline after taking a short course in Gloria Steinem while the sashaying ‘Cocaine Cowboys’ disses spurs-sporting dudes moving from LA to Nashville who’ve never even ridden a horse. Nelson’s spirit is strong in the outlaw country bounce and message of ‘Wild Women’ with its stories of “Jack Daniel’s and speed”. By adding a decent dose of 2017 into her classic sound, Price creates something truly great.