Margo Price - That’s How Rumors Get Started Music Album Reviews

With country as her foundation, the versatile singer and songwriter pivots toward classic rock. She sounds less like the honky-tonk rebel and more like the Nashville professional.

Margo Price wasn’t always a country singer. Long before she nodded to Loretta Lynn with the title of her 2016 solo debut, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, she gigged around Nashville in a variety of bands, playing British Invasion rock with Secret Handshake and soul and classic rock with Buffalo Clover. She proved as adaptable as she was ambitious, fitting her voice to multiple genres and developing an impressive stylistic range that was bound to be underappreciated in Nashville. After a series of tragedies and misfortunes—the loss of a child, jail time for drunk driving, professional inertia—she finally leaned into country music, assembling a barnstorming backing band called the Price Tags to set her woes to a honky-tonk soundtrack.
That’s How Rumors Get Started represents a pivot away from twang toward a more classic rock sound—something closer to Buffalo Clover than her previous two albums. She named Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac as touchstones, perhaps even hat-tipping the latter with that album title, and recorded in Los Angeles, at the storied EastWest Studios, with a group of session players including Benmont Tench from the Heartbreakers and Matt Sweeney from Chavez and Zwan. Co-producing is her old friend Sturgill Simpson, who sat in with the Price Tags many years ago and has his own strained relationship with country music. What ought to be a remarkable lineup, however, sounds overly constrained on Rumors, which lacks the heroic self-determinism of Daughter and the eccentricity of All American Made.

This isn’t a case of “anything but country,” though. It’s more like “anything and country.” That remains the foundation of her songwriting, but she’s reaching out in new directions, tinkering with different sounds and settings with hit-or-miss results. The flatulent guitars on “Twinkle Twinkle” so strongly recall the bouncy blues-rock of the Black Keys that it just might constitute a casual dig at her old label Third Man and its co-founder Jack White. Much more compelling is “Heartless Mind,” which uses country as a springboard into New Wave. Price’s voice sounds surprisingly comfortable, invigorated even, alongside the drum machine, the bobbing organ, and the processed guitars, at times channeling Marilyn Martin without sounding especially retro. It’s the most animated track on the album, the riskiest but also among the most rewarding.


Primarily, though, Price is interested in gospel music and the drama it injects into her songs. The churchly melodies and jubilant harmonies of the Nashville Friends Gospel Choir lend momentum and road-dog romance to “Prisoner of the Highway,” about the sacrifices you make as a touring musician, but those same elements are a distraction on “What Happened to Our Love?” which erupts into melodrama about halfway through, like a jump scare in a bad horror flick. When Buffalo Clover recorded the slow-burning “Hey Child” for their 2013 album Test Your Love, Price sang it like she was stuck in Memphis rather than L.A., her voice bouncing off the mournful Stax horns. Since then, she has become a more nuanced singer, which is apparent in the quieter moments on this new version, but the slick sound of Rumors sacrifices spontaneity for a scripted climax.

In this West Coast setting, Price sounds less like the honky-tonk rebel and more like the Nashville professional. That can sharpen the ironies as well as the hooks of a song like “Letting Me Down,” with its prickly guitars and concrete details, but on the title track she sounds oddly resigned, even a little melancholy as she confronts someone spreading lies about her. “And here you are, still doin’ you,” she sings. “It never worked out, but it never stopped you.” Those are great lines, rich in their accusations, but there’s no sting in her voice, just a weary resignation. No artist has to bristle constantly, but Price’s outrage at industry double standards made her previous solo albums sound righteous, and her pain at life’s tragedies resonated even if you didn’t know her backstory. Rumors buffs away some of the rougher edges that made her so much more compelling than so many of Nashville’s aspiring singer-songwriters. Those albums made the fight sound worthwhile, but there’s too little fight in these songs.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Margo Price - That’s How Rumors Get Started Music Album Reviews Margo Price - That’s How Rumors Get Started Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 Rating: 5

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