'That's How Rumors Get Started' Review: Margo Price's new album is a side-step from her usual country tones
Nashville-based singer-songwriter Margo Price is set to release her new studio album 'That’s How Rumors Get Started' on Friday, July 10. Marking her third studio LP in her critically-acclaimed collection, 'That's How Rumors Get Started' follows 'All American Made' and her debut record 'Midwest Farmer's Daughter' which released in 2016.
Price released a live album, 'Perfectly Imperfect at the Ryman', in May. Recorded in 2018 at the Mother Church of Country Music, the Ryman Auditorium, where she claimed her rock star status, the live album showcases her headlining performances there for the first time ever, in a sold-out run of three nights. It was during those shows that the Nashville Scene said, "We got to see Price's hopes and dreams for the future being realized before our eyes." The live album is donating all proceeds to benefit the MusicCares Covid-19 Relief Fund.
Originally with a scheduled release date of May 8, 2020, the new 'That's How Rumors Get Started' album was postponed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. The new 10-track full-length is produced by Sturgill Simpson and co-produced by Price and David Ferguson. It includes the previously shared singles 'Stone Me' and 'Twinkle Twinkle'.
Proving to be a passionate muso and not leaving fans empty-handed without new music, Price worked on the new album while she was pregnant. In March she shared in a statement, "They’re both a creation process. And I was being really good to my body and my mind during that time. I had a lot of clarity from sobriety."
Upon hitting play on the album's self-titled opening track, it is clear Price wants to step out of the typical "country" box she has been put it and become more niche in her music. The piano-driven song colors a mesh of styles, such as Southern soul, light Americana and tasteful drops of country, that Price has no trouble mixing. The result is an air of sweetness, endurance and culture. Think Fleetwood Mac meets Dolly Parton meets Jason Isbell.
The following uptempo track, 'Letting Me Down', gets rock-charged with a brisk beat backed by Simpson's vocals, synth organ, swirling guitar riffs, and piano scaling high and low chords as Price sings, "You were in another dream I had. Still running from your dead beat dad. I had a feeling it would turn out bad. And I never woke up. Bad luck you know it don't come cheap. But shit changes baby, nothing's concrete. A full moon above an empty street. I only wanted your love."
The LP allows its traditional instruments of guitar (played by Matt Sweeney) bass (by Pino Palladino), acoustic drums (James Gadson) and keyboards (Benmont Tench) to get a wide stretch of various rhythms, tempos, and textures as Price lets out her best vocal gymnastics we've heard so far.
'Hey Child' starts off as a tender ballad with the singer musing, "Hey, child. You've got blood on your doorstep. Long eyes, cheap talk, strange forces. How long can you hold, hold down your resistance? Hey, child. You don't know, no, baby, you don't know your own existence," and explodes at its swelled moments with Nashville Friends Gospel Choir backing vocals and soulful keys.
'Heartless Mind' adopts an '80s-disco tone and rhythm with 'Night Rider'-tipped synth. 'I'd 'Die For You', the final track slaps out all the buzz and twangs of the acoustic guitar alongside a crunchy electric riff. Price's vocals reverberate in a hall echo as she belts out suspended lines in the chorus.
Price was also scheduled to tour in promotion of 'That's How Rumors Get Started', with some dates in support of Chris Stapleton's 2020 'All-American Road Show Tour', but those were also postponed due to the pandemic.