Margo Price Channels Her Inner Loretta Lynn at House of Blues

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Margo Price
Bronze Peacock Room
October 5, 2016

Margo Price may be the most underrated woman in all of country music. Sure, she may not move the needle like a Carrie Underwood or Faith Hill, but that’s precisely the point. Simply put, Margo Price should be a bigger deal commercially than she is right now. 

She proved as much during a headlining set on Wednesday night at House of Blues’ Bronze Peacock Room. Playing before a sizable crowd in House of Blues’ more intimate room (Die Antwoord was occupying the larger space on this particular night, and the blending of Price’s country crowd and Antwoord’s rap-rave crew was a sight to behold), Price showcased the chops that got her signed by Jack White (yes, that Jack White) and later booked as a musical guest on Saturday Night Live.

Price, whose solo debut, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, debuted in March at No. 10 on the Billboard U.S. Country Albums charts, doesn’t sing of bro-country desires like tailgates and scantily clad women. Rather, she sings of real-life experiences. That includes poverty, alcoholism and busted relationships.

After all, this is a woman whose family farm was repossessed when she was two years old, who worked odd jobs to support herself, and, perhaps most important, someone who pawned her wedding ring and car to afford production costs relating to Midwest Farmer’s Daughter.

The album is a highlight of 2016 for sure, and Price – who will play Austin City Limits Music Festival this weekend (3-4 p.m. Sunday, HomeAway stage) – showcased it to its finest before an intimate but appreciative crowd in the Bronze Peacock Room, a sort of little brother to House of Blues’ main stage.

Price played such favorites from the album as “Since You Put Me Down” and “Hurtin (On the Bottle)” — both of which were featured on SNL — but also showcased favorites like “Four Years of Chances” and “This Town Gets Around.”

It’s almost fitting that Price’s debut is on Third Man Records, the label owned and operated by former White Stripes front man Jack White. White produced Loretta Lynn’s commercial comeback, 2004’s Van Lear Rose, and Price bears a striking similarity to Lynn in terms of voice and content. Both possess booming, twangy voices, and neither is capable of BS.

Price, who cites Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton as other inspirations, finished her 80-minute set by exiting the stage and mixing it up with those in the crowd. The result was as much fun as you can find on a Wednesday night. Here's guessing the next time Price plays a gig in Houston, she'll command a somewhat bigger venue.

So, How Was the opener? I didn’t catch all of Great Peacock’s opening set, though it is somewhat coincidental that Great Peacock played at Bronze Peacock Room Wednesday night. Nevertheless, Great Peacock delivered one of the more energetic opening sets a country band can provide. Andrew Nelson and Blount Floyd – who sort of co-front the band – have a nice rapport onstage, one that had the crowd rocking until their set ended around 8:45.

Overheard In the Crowd: “She was great on SNL,” one observer noted. Speaking of which…

Random Notebook Dump: Anyone who says Saturday Night Live is irrelevant need look no further than Price’s crowd at House of Blues, many of whose members acknowledged they first learned of her during her SNL set on April 9. Hosted by not-so-funnyman Russell Crowe, the episode was sorta terrible, but as the musical guest, Price showcased a sound that seemed destined for greater things. Here’s hoping she gets there.

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