When Margo Price entered the studio last November to record her new album All American Made (out now), it was just days after Donald Trump was elected president. She says a number of the songs took on an extra weight, but by no means did she set out to make a political record.
“The songs were going to be the same no matter what,” the 34-year-old country musician says. “I’m just thinking that [they’re about] social issues that I’ve seen traveling. That’s my take on it. Everyone can look at it and put into what they want – but it probably would have been the same to me, no matter what.
All American Made is the follow-up to her 2016 breakout debut Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, which made chart history when it became the first country album to crack Billboard’s top 10 Country Albums chart without having a single on the Hot Country Songs ranking to help get it there.
Critical acclaim, a nice early booking on Saturday Night Live and a steady stream of touring helped propel her into the spotlight for most of last year — but she says the quick ascention didn’t weigh on her during the making of All American Made.
“I’ve been making albums for quite some time,” she says. “Even though Midwest Farmer’s Daughter was my debut album, I’ve been recording since I was 20.”
Listen to a Margo Price album and you’ll surely be able to pick up on some influences – some obvious, some subtle. Below are Price’s picks for country albums everyone should own — and how they’ve worked their way into her life over the years.
George Jones – I Am What I Am (1980)
“It has arguably the best country song ever written with ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today.’ It also has a lot of good shit-kicking country songs like ‘A Hard Act to Follow’ and ‘I’ve Aged Twenty Years in Five.’ When I heard that song, I felt something. It’s slick, but it’s not super commercial. People are moved by it.”
Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris – Trio (1987)
“That writing just really touched me. I’ve covered ‘Wildflowers’ so many times to try and get that sound into what I do.”
Willie Nelson – Shotgun Willie (1973)
“I’ve listened to that album a million times. It was not really accepted in a lot of areas. It didn’t have major recognition. It had shit sales. But it has such a great tracklist. “Whiskey River” totally influenced [Midwest Farmer’s Daughter song] “Hurtin’ (In a Bottle).’ And the versions he did of Leon Russell’s ‘Song For You’ and ‘You Look Like the Devil’ — those songs make me lose it. It doesn’t get any better than Shotgun Willie.”
Country Funk Volumes 1 and 2
“It’s just greasy bass and harmonica. It’s pretty much the most amazing thing you’ll ever hear. Every track is people you might not have heard of but all should know.”
Emmylou Harris – Elite Hotel (1975)
“Her work with the Hot Band has influenced so much of what we do and who we are as a band. And songs like ‘Wheels’ and ‘Ooh Las Vegas’ — she’s class and sonically, I try to pull from her and the Hot Band in the best ways.”