Hot on the heels of one of the most well-received debuts in some time, it would be easy for new country standout Margo Price to follow this past year’s Midwestern Farmer’s Daughter with more of the same.
Instead though, the Nashville-based singer decided to use her elevated status as a platform to discuss some things of importance to her, resulting in what many are calling one of the most politically charged albums of the year.
And that's true ... to a point.
It’s clear from the title itself that the current political landscape impacted Price as she worked on All American Made, but not to the extent that many have pointed out.
I think it’s a good thing that Price is singing as a realist about something closer to her heart than the typical country trope. But a few songs about life being tough for the middle class or suggesting 'hey, maybe men and women should make the same amount of money,' does not make for a political album — or at least it shouldn’t.
The foremost song giving this album its 'political’ tag is “Pay Gap,” which, as its name implies, is about the difference in the wages earned by males and females.
"Say that we live in the land of the free / Well sometimes that bell don’t ring true / It’s been that way, with no equal pay, and wanna know when it’ll be fixed / women who work and get treated like slaves since 1776.”
That's just one of the many lyrics similarly themed. The song also features the chorus “Pay gap, pay gap / ripping my dollars in half.”
You would have to be pretty far from the center to see those as revolutionary thoughts. However, beyond all of that, you have yourself a pretty enjoyable record. Price mixes things up nicely with a blend of upbeat and catchy tunes like “Cocaine Cowboys,” about avoiding the newest breed of cowboy — the kind that’s more likely to be an executive or producer and who has probably never spent a minute riding a horse — or “Weakness,” the album’s first radio single.
“Weakness,” at least through early listens, is probably the best song on the album, and it's easy to see why. It has a really catchy beat and a chorus with clever wordplay.
Price does include a lot of slower, more introspective songs in the vein of Midwestern Farmer’s Daughter, including one that features her spiritual predecessor, Willie Nelson, and “Nowhere Fast.”
Price has an enjoyable voice to listen to; she can belt it or snarl with the best of them, depending on what the song calls for, but her regular singing voice is just as pleasant.
Overall, everything on All American Made comes together to make a very well-crafted, old-school country inspired record.
From her lyrics to her sound, Price truly is one of the rising superstars of the genre, and anyone who enjoys good music should give it a listen, politics be damned.