Earlier this week Margo Price, on her way for gigs in October, explained why Emmylou Harris is a good soul, why Leonard Cohen the author mattered, and how taking acid in Las Vegas is like a truth serum. (Read part 1 HERE)
In part two of this interview with the Nashville singer/songwriter whose most recent album, All American Made, was one of last year’s best (read the review here), we find out how her mix of country, rock and soul didn’t just happen, why politics matters, and why synchronised chain gangs are so important.
The album that changed or marked her.
The Kinks – Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, and Muswell Hillbillies
“Something that really shaped me in the beginning of my songwriter days was The Kinks and there was a lot of talk in [Lola Versus Powerman] about how the music industry works, all these things about getting ripped off by publishers and managers, and liars and cheats. I also really love their album Muswell Hillbillies because it was like British fused with American country/bluegrass and it was such a perfect album when I found it. I was very blown away that I hadn’t heard of them when I had heard of the Stones and the Beatles, and this something that I can relate to in the way they were underdogs and kinda never got their moment in the sun like they should have had.”
The election that mattered.
2004, 2008, 2016
“I do remember when Bush was elected for his second term and that was pretty disappointing. I was protesting the war back then and I went up to Washington DC with my husband and we protested. I was not a fan of [Bush’s] policies and what he was doing. When Barack Obama won it was beautiful because it was so cool that a black man had become president of our country.
“Now everything has been flipped upside down and it’s very sad. But I know we have to keep working; there’s no moving to Canada for me. I love America and I think that it’s the most patriotic thing you can do, to fight for your country to be better and to try to change things. There’s a lot going on and it’s hard to explain these kinds of things to my child, what he hears at school. We are in the difficult spot right now but I’m trying to remain positive.”
Maybe the best response to those who say ‘my country, love it or leave it’ is I’ll love it and fix it.
“Yes!. A lot of people don’t know this but Merle Haggard [who wrote the 2000 flag-waving hit If You Don’t Love It, Leave It] wrote a campaign song for Hillary Clinton, the first time she ran. He got painted into this really right wing, patriotic nonsense with [his 1969 counter-counterculture hit] Okie From Muskogee, which was all sarcastic. Merle smoked weed and I definitely don’t think he would be into all the things that are going on today. Merle definitely had some strong opinions but I know he did support Hillary.”
Key soul song
James Brown - If You Leave Me I’ll Go Crazy
“That was when I used to cover in [her first Nashville band, the rock and soul] Buffalo Clover.”
Buffalo Clover songs have not so far been released but there’s hope.
“We have remixed a bunch of them and we’re going to put out a compilation of the best of them, we just haven’t done it yet. But it’s there, and just waiting to be released.”
Key rock song
Janis Joplin - Piece Of My Heart
“Nobody screams like she screams. She was a force of nature and I have always admired her and what she does.”
Key country song
Johnny Cash - Busted
“That song always got to me. I’ve rewritten that song many, many times, in many different ways,” she laughs. “I’ve tried at least.”
Favourite Elvis Presley moment
Jailhouse Rock and Elvis Country (I’m 10,000 Years Old)
“Growing up I used to be a dancer and my favourite song was Jailhouse Rock because we did a tap dance, me and about eight other girls. We all chained our feet together, so we were all in shackles, and we had to do a kick line together. If one person messed up than your foot would get pulled by the chain. I really love that song with nostalgia.
“But I got into this other record kind of before I did my last record, when we were down in Memphis, this album called Elvis Country I’m 10 000 Years Old, or some funny subtitle. They all have the greatest transitions that go into them but I really love, I think it’s on side one, this song called Tomorrow Never Comes. I highly recommend checking that out.”
Margo Price will play
October 10 Caravan Music Club, Melbourne
October 12 Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne
October 13 Out On The Weekend Festival, Seaworks, Williamstown
October 14 Enmore Theatre, Sydney
October 16 Factory Theatre, Sydney