Margo Price

All American Made

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Margo Price cut her 2016 debut, Midwest Farmer's Daughter, on her own dime, hawking everything she and her husband had to record the album at Sun Studio. Its rawness grabbed the attention of Third Man Records, which released the record unadorned. Critics and a cult of fans also found the rough edges appealing, but that ragged immediacy also suggested Price was more of a traditionalist than she actually was, a situation she remedies with 2017's All American Made. Written and recorded in the aftermath of Donald J. Trump's November 2016 election, All American Made doesn't disguise Price's liberal politics -- "Pay Gap" addresses gender inequality among salaries, the title track is a stark bit of protest that reaches its boil thanks to sampled news clips -- which is a shift from the personal vignettes of her debut, and she broadens her musical range, too. Price is particularly drawn to laid-back slow, going so far as to set "Cocaine Cowboys" to a lackadaisical funk beat. She hasn't abandoned country -- the album opens with the rockabilly of "Don't Say It," which is quickly countered by the barroom swing of "Weakness," while Willie Nelson later swings by to sing on "Learning to Lose" -- which means All American Made winds up drawing an expansive portrait of American roots music, one that touches on R&B, Tex-Mex, girl group pop, spacy indie rock, and even Glen Campbell's trippiest moments. Price isn't a dilettante; these disparate styles are unified by a musical and lyrical aesthetic that views American life not only as a continuum, but a place where the past and present, rural and urban are in constant dialogue. Despite some deservedly hard edges, it's this vision of an open-hearted, open-bordered U.S.A. that gives All American Made its lasting power.

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