It seems Margo Price always knew where she wanted to go in life, but figuring out how to get there was a whole other deal. “That’s the hard thing is making the map,” says Price over the phone as she gets ready to embark on her five-week tour.
Price’s Till The Wheel’s Fall Off Tour, her first headlining tour since 2018, will make one of its first stops in Houston on Thursday, February 2 at White Oak Music Hall with opener Daniel Donato’s Cosmic Country.
“I had no idea when I stepped off the stage in 2018 that I was going to get pregnant and there was going to be a global pandemic so it means a lot to me to be able to go out there and play for fans,” says Price who welcomed her daughter in 2019.
Though Price has been able to play major festivals, tour with the one and only Willie Nelson and open for Chris Stapleton, all opportunities she is grateful for, she knows there’s nothing quite like playing for your own fans. “You don't have to go out there and win them over, they're already on your side.”
Price hasn’t always had people on her side. Her long career has seen many changes before and since the release of her fantastic 2016 debut album Midwest Farmer’s Daughter released on Third Man Records.
Price laid it all out in her recent memoir, Maybe We’ll Make It where she takes readers on her intense journey from the start up until her career really started taking off. “It's definitely been an interesting path but I'm enjoying the ride with all the ups and downs and crazy left turns along the way.”
Maybe We’ll Make It reads much like Price’s song writing, beautiful, heartfelt and sincere stories where Price doesn’t hold back telling it like it is exposing her own vulnerabilities and learning experiences along the way.
Price's voice as writer is as strong as her voice as singer, hitting the reader with a punch in the gut as they travel alongside with her and her struggling band through the often grueling and dehumanizing effects of fame, exposure and finding a place in the music industry all while building a family of her own with her husband, writing partner and bandmate Jeremy Ivey.
“Being able to go through a lot of those mistakes and go through that dark period where I was grieving the loss of a child, my career was in the gutter and everything was just wasn’t working out, being able to write that down and read it back to myself gave me this different scope of compassion that I hadn’t previously been able to do,” says Price of the purging process she refers to as a “sick form of therapy” that actually pushed her to start therapy for the first time in her life.
Price worked on her memoir while pregnant, writing 500 pages before shelving the manuscript and getting back on the road following the birth of her daughter. When the pandemic shut down the world, Price revisited her writing and began working on her latest album Strays.
“There was a point when I was working on them both at the same time. It was a little arduous at times but it helped fuel each other and I ended up using some of the song titles as chapters titles and vice versa. It was like unearthing the past and going through a lot of these memories and looking at where I came from and seeing where I wanted to go so it was beautiful.”
Strays is a sonic departure for Price and her band, players she credits to helping her push the limits and her comfort zone while making new music. Tracks like “Radio” and “Time Machine” show off Price’s ability to embrace pop and rock and roll elements while maintaining her lyrical gift for writing earnest songs that when removed from the music, could be read as poetry or most likely in their stripped-down versions could always be a good country song.
“Light Me Up” featuring guitar god and former Heartbreaker Mike Campbell is pure rock and roll taking the listener on an orgasmic experience flowing from slow and steady to an intense climax and then back again showing off Price’s high energy and vocal range, two of her strengths as an artist which she says have only gotten more powerful in her new found sobriety.
“I think even before Midwest Farmer’s Daughter came out what a lot of people don't realize is that I've been trying to do all sorts of different kinds of music,” says Price who looks to artists like Willie Nelson, Neil Young and Tom Petty as pioneers in exploring and incorporating new sounds into their music throughout their careers.
“I’m just trying to spread my wings a little bit and not get stagnant. Country music will always have a huge place in my heart and I feel like with this album what I really wanted to be able to do is write good songs.”
Margo Price will perform with Daniel Donato's Cosmic Country on Thursday, February 2 at White Oak Music Hall, 2915 N. Main. Doors at 8 p.m, $27.