MARGO PRICE photographed in Ebntonite Hills, Utah 2022

Margo Price – Strays

An excellent display of artistic breadth...

Margo Price has always walked her own path. A Nashville rebel, her songwriting is rooted in a pursuit of the truth, no matter the cost. Leaning in on her rock influences for 2020 statement ‘That’s How Rumors Get Started’, she once again spins the dials on this eclectic, enthralling follow-up.

The work of an artist grappling with inspiration, ‘Strays’ was – Margo Price insists – spurred on by a mushroom trip in the desert, the shackles of her musicality suddenly unbound. Moving from plaintive folk to vintage country via some crunching rock riffs, the song cycle is held together by the wisdom of her personality, and the graceful touch only her vocals can truly provide.

Opener ‘Been To The Moutain’ has a sense of the ageless haloing it, the keys moving between a church service and a Doors-like lysergic experience. A full band workout, it then segues into the acoustic-led ‘Light Me Up’, a lullaby-like melody pushed ahead by one of Margo’s purest, and most unaffected vocals.

Margo Price – Strays

A record that emphasises the breadth of the songwriter’s musicality, ‘Strays’ is able to move from the rootsy Southern rock channelled by ‘Change Of Heart’ into the stunning, empathetic acoustic lament ‘Lydia’ – a discussion of class, bodily autonomy and women’s rights, it’s a shattering performance, rendered all the more powerful by the recent overturning of Roe vs Wade.

A singular voice, Margo Price isn’t afraid to let others come to the microphone. Lucius appears on the charming, almost Beatles-esque ‘Anytime You Call’, but the most potent collaboration is undoubtedly Sharon Van Etten’s appearance on ‘Radio’.  Two stalwart American women working in tandem, it’s a bravura duet, effortlessly tearing down the barriers in their way.

Fresh from completing work on her memoir, fans could have forgiven Margo Price for using ‘Strays’ as a space for nostalgia introspection. Instead, she’s placed her focus on the future, laying down challenges to all around her. A remarkable talent, this is an album to cherish.

8/10

Words: Robin Murray

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