Birth Name: Margo Rae Price
Birthplace: Aledo, Illinois, USA
April 15, 1983 – present
Years Active: 2003 – present
Born in the small city of Aledo, Illinois, Margo Price’s hometown is on the far western side of the state, bordering Iowa and Missouri. She was raised in a farming community devastated by an agriculture crisis in the U.S. during the 1970s and 1980s. Numerous factors led to the crisis, resulting in thousands of farmers overwhelmed by debt and defaulting on their property mortgages. Farms were foreclosed and rural communities around the nation became economically unstable.
Price’s family was adversely affected by the crisis, and that experience, as well as many others throughout her life, have made her intimately familiar with economic hardship and deep personal loss. She explores those themes, and many more, in her songs. Now an acclaimed Country music artist, she is well-suited to the genre’s legacy of hard-scrabble storytelling and tuneful advocacy.
Already playing music at a young age, Price refined her piano and singing skills in church. Studying Dance and Theater at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, she left college at the age of 20 and relocated to Nashville, Tennessee in 2003. As her music career slowly took flight, Price worked odd jobs to make ends meet while playing in multiple bands during her first several years in the city.
Price made a name for herself in the burgeoning East Nashville music scene that developed during the 2000s. She embodies the movement’s independence from the city’s legendary downtown Country music epicenter, Music Row. Throughout her career, and especially as a solo artist, Price has not hesitated to stay true to her principles. At times, her choice to do so has conflicted with the conservative inclinations abundant amongst Nashville’s corporate Country music industry.
Although Price experienced some success with her bands, it was limited. She struck out on her own and established a solo career in the 2010s. Her early songs and singing style had much in common with acclaimed Country singer-songwriters like Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Tammy Wynette.
In 2015, Price self-funded the recording sessions for her first album, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter. The album was made at the historic Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. Upon hearing that Nashville local and music mogul, Jack White was a fan of hers, Price made sure he heard the new recordings. White later signed Price to his Third Man Records label and the album debuted in 2016.
A second album quickly followed in 2017. Also released on Third Man Records, All American Made featured an expanding sound. Receiving frequent critical acclaim, numerous reviewers heralded the development. Price’s songs began to feature elements of R&B and 1960s Girl Groups stylings. Also in 2017, Price performed at the Farm Aid benefit concert for the first time. It was an important milestone that demonstrated her deep commitment to farm communities and reflected her personal experience. Initially organized by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Neil Young in 1985 in response to the crisis at the time, the concerts have been held near-annually ever since.
Changing directions for her third album, Price joined with fellow East Nashville scene alum, Sturgill Simpson and gathered together a team of studio musician heavyweights to record her new songs in Los Angeles. The band included James Gadson (Bill Withers, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin), Pino Palladino (The Who), and Benmont Tench (Tom Petty). The album’s tracks branched out further stylistically, including elements of Country Rock.
The release of Price’s third album, That’s How Rumors Get Started, was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was her first record on a new label after leaving Third Man Records and moving to Loma Vista Recordings. Receiving favorable reviews, the album reached the top 20 of Billboard’s U.S. Top Country Albums in July 2020.