Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Margo Price

  • Midwest Farmer's Daughter [Third Man, 2016] A-
  • All American Made [Third Man, 2017] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Midwest Farmer's Daughter [Third Man, 2016]
In the manner of Kacey Musgraves, Price's soprano is more a coffeehouse voice than a barroom voice. Her Illinois-to-Nashville drawl is as precise as her word choices even if her "You wouldn't know class if it bit you in the ass" can't match the gusto of Loretta Lynn, whose "Fist City" midwifed its melody. But from "Four Years of Chances," which lays out the slog of a neglectful marriage mainly so she can crow about the attentive one that came next, to "Weekender," in which her old man is too broke to bail her out of jail, her clarity has a gusto of its own. Meet and greet yet another country sister who's smarter than the bros. A-

All American Made [Third Man, 2017]
For anyone who calls herself country to blame women's troubles on "rich white men" is a miraculous thing, as is a title closer that remembers when "Reagan was selling weapons to the leaders of Iran." But singing a lyric isn't the same as driving it home, and she should never have removed the echo from a soft-edged soprano that needs all the vulgarity it can enact. I admire the one she has the brass to call "Pay Gap." But I respond more naturally to the losing-the-farm saga "Heart of America," which blames "the big banks" like it should, and the self-determined "Loner," which warns "You get what you pay for, sometimes you pay twice." So let's just call her a folkie, shall we? That way we can be sure we're getting what we paid for. B+