Margo Price – Strays Album Review

Their third album Strays, rightly, strays far from their early retro-country sound. The price cannot be limited to any gender. There are echoes of Tom Petty here and a heavy dose of psychedelia in the escalating opener, Been To The Mountain, a hypnotic confessional that turns into a paranoid, semi-talking tirade.

Change Of Heart is driven by a simple and addictive bluesy guitar riff, while County Road, led by haunting piano, could be Stevie Nicks singing a lost Springsteen gem. Surprises abound. Mike Campbell (formerly of Petty’s Heartbreakers) guests on Light Me Up, which transitions from delicate folk to Zeppelin-esque classic rock.

Sharon Van Etten joins the party on seductive Radio, and indie-pop duo Lucius light up the lush ballad Anytime You Call with harmonies.

Lyrically, Margo, 39, has even more to say. The heartbreaking ballad of Ella Lydia of Ella paints a grim portrait of a woman selling herself for synthetic heroin, “on a chain like a dog with a midwife crisis and an ex-husband.” She is pregnant in a methadone clinic knowing that she cannot afford to raise a child. “I could build a dump of dreams I abandoned,” she sings.

Price paints vivid pictures of life in the background and his own life has been plunged into pits of misery worthy of a Happy Valley character. The Illinois-born star has survived the loss of her child, infidelity, alcohol addiction and substance abuse.

Strays, written with her husband Jeremy Ivey, is her most ambitious yet, confirming her promise and underscoring her need to keep going.

His instinct is to take risks. And you know what? The price is fine.

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