The country music Christmas break is slowly coming to an end and the first new releases of 2023 are popping up in record stores and streaming platforms. One of the first listens of the year is the album Strays by Margo Price. She is releasing her fourth album on 13th January 2023.
Margo Price – About The Artist
Margo Rae Price was born in a small West Illinois town called Aledo on 15th April 1983. Even though she has been a rather well-reputed member of the Nashville music scene for a while, it took price until 2016 to release her debut album: Midwest Farmer’s Daughter made it into the US Country Top 10 Album charts and topped the UK Country Album charts. Her two ffollowing albums, All American Made (2017) and That’s How Rumors Get Started (2020) had similar chart placements. There are also three albums Price released before, as part of the band Buffalo Clover. On the single side, there have been not really remarkable chart entries.
Margo Price – Strays – Track by Track
The ten song album lasts 46 minutes.
1. Been To The Mountain
The album opens with one of the single releases, Been To The Mountain. Margo Price shows a rather energetic and rocking performance in these first 5:28 minutes of the album. The song impresses at the very beginning, but feels a bit too monotonous during the full duration. Price partially compensates that with a very inspiring vocal performance.
2. Light Me Up (feat. Mike Campbell)
The album features three collaborations with guest musicians. The first one is Light Me Up, for which Price has invited former Tom Petty guitarist Michael Campbell. Another five minute listen, which starts kind of slow, but them significantly pushes the speed and rhythm level. Cool song, which profits from three guitar players (Mike Campbell, Jamie Davis, Alex Munoz) in parallel.
3. Radio (feat. Sharon Van Etten)
Radio is a song recorded together with indie singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten. Despite the song is signifciantly shorter than the openers and is a little less than three minutes, it leaves a mark. The dual vocal style of the song and the indie signature of the recording also lead to a very own sound.
4. Change of Heart
One reason why the songs have a very individual touch is that Margo Price and her team nicely experiment with different instruments. The very melodic Change of Heart for example comes with Micah Hulscher on the farfiza organ. A nice one, which feels like a folk rocker put on top of a country music foundation. Good one.
5. County Road
You’re so lucky, you made it out and you don’t even know
You just drive your car up and down county road
County Road is one of two songs which even exceed the six minute barrier. Margo Price strongly reminds me of Sarah Darling in here. The key instrument in here is definitely the keyboard. The pedal steel is giving a nice mood in the background. Lovely song with a dreamish touch.
6. Time Machine
The rather short Time Machine is driven by a strong bass groove. Especially the instrumentral intro thus almost has a funk-alike flavor. Despite several synths have been used to produce the sound of the sixth track, it still feels rather intimate and “hand-made”.
7. Hell In The Heartland
Hell In The Heartland again comes with a dreamish and fragile performance on the vocal side, despite the song is rather rythmic and also uses quite a range of instruments. The two backing vocalists in here create a choir-alike atmosphere.
In my heart, there’s a hole
Twice the size of God
Try to fill it up with so many things
But still I just got lost
Can’t please ‘em all, all the time and who wants to fake it
Love gets you hurt, bein’ real gets you hated
8. Anytime You Call (feat. Lucius)
The New York band Lucius is supporting Margo Price in this one. Three vocalists and a nice range of instrumentalists create a wide range of sounds. Nonetheless, this one does not reach my favorites.
With 6:12 minutes, the epic Lydia is the longest song of the album. Beautiful storytelling, which despite of a really nice plot feels a bit of lengthy to me.
I could build a landfill of dreams I deserted
Swallowed up like muscadine wine
I look for the stray wolves out in the distance
They lick their lips on the timberline
Landfill closes the album with another slow, dramatic listen. Pedal steel and synth are leading to a very atmospheric and intense finale.
Margo Price – Strays – Spotify
Here is the album on Spotify:
Margo Price – Strays – My View
Strays is a good album with a lot of good musical concepts. Sometimes, the song tend to feel a bit too long – even though Margo Price is a nice storyteller. On the very positive side, the artist is defining and developing a very unique and characteristic sound.
Media Review (2022 Women Country)
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