Margo Price is a country singer/songwriter that quite simply should be the country singer/songwriter. Her performance ability whether on record or live in-person simply gives a feeling of what country was like in it’s heyday.
Country music back in the day was legends like Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and of course Johnny Cash, it was simplistic yet you could feel the power in the music, it shows why they’re classed as a music elite. While modern day country is — simply put — mostly overproduced garbage about driving pick-up trucks. As the man Merle Haggard himself said it has “no substance”.
Margo Price is in that class of current country musicians that have it. That substance. There’s only a few of them, but they’re fighting, getting critical acclaim and performing the way they should. Against the grain, Margo Price is touring her latest effort Midwest’s Famer’s Daughter, the first country album on Jack White‘s Third Man Records.
We waltzed into the ever-brilliant Deaf Institute in Manchester and arrived just as the doors opened, it’s a brilliant sight. A good line for the incoming Nashville belle, we settled in for a tad. The Deaf Institute is one of the nicest venues around, it’s lush at sight.
The first act was right on time, support from an old friend of Margo‘s and Liverpool legend, Mike Badger joined by his latest offering The Shady Trio. They brought their styling of rockabilly which is held together tightly by a brilliant band, The Shady Trio (made up of Chris Marshall on the double bass, Paul Cavanagh on guitar, and Ian Lane on drums) who with impracticable timing proved key to their graceful set.
Just a few minutes before scheduled, of course, Margo‘s band The Price Tags appeared and opened in classic country style, as Margo walked out to a large reception. The Deaf Institute was packed, all awaiting a breathtaking set by Price and they wouldn’t leave disappointed.
The early numbers in Margo‘s set could be held as highlights, “Tennessee Song” the foot-stomping anthem-like song brought the crowd together. Price was against certain odds, almost “ten days ago” she trapped her finger in a car door leaving her unable to play her guitar, instead her husband Jeremy Ivey filled in brilliantly on guitar, which also brought a new chemistry on-stage.
The first break brought a highlight, The Price Tags left the stage leaving just Ivey and Margo to preform the amazing “It Ain’t Drunk Driving If You’re Riding a Horse”, just shortly as the band returned Margo continued playing around with who she had on stage, bringing a delightful cover of Levon Helm‘s “Dirt Farmer” joined with her guitarist and bass player on her microphone.
The rundown toward the end featured material from Margo‘s debut acclaimed record, notably “Hurtin’ on the Bottle” and “Four Years of Chances” before, after a fantastic, long set, Margo and co. left the stage. The Deaf Institute crowd demanded an encore, pounding their feet and clapping in unison, they obliged with a cover of Neil Young‘s “On My Way Home”.
Margo brought her true country style to Manchester proudly, and equally brought a great show. We’d recommend seeing her next time, as we will be.
Words by Jack Cinnamond, Photography by Jess Sharpe