Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
This is Margo Price’s second full length album and expectations are very high. That first release, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, is a tough act to follow. That was one of the best country albums in the last ten years. It made TwangriLa’s Best Of 2016.
The writing and musicianship were superb on Midwest Farmer’s Daughter. Could Margo do it again? A follow up that does at least as well as the first, when the bar is already at a lofty altitude? These are valid questions. The answer is yes. These songs are a little different than Midwest Farmer’s Daughter but every bit as powerful.
Sometimes the music does the talking and Margo knows how to get the most out of her music. She is a pro. And she also has a secret weapon on this album. His name is Willie Nelson and he sings a duet with Margo. More on that later in the review.
When it comes to the music, these songs never skipped a beat from the first album. They are brilliant and listen worthy. Let’s start with Cocaine Cowboys (Track 7), which starts off about as funky as funky can get. The song title gives the subject matter away. But it is the presentation of this song, not only the words, that make this song spectacular. The bass, drum, and guitar take the funk to another level. Another listen for me.
Alright, I know you are all waiting for more on Willie Nelson, so here goes. Learning To Lose (Track 4) is an absolutely gorgeous duet with Margo and Willie. It is up there with Tammy Wynette and George Jones & Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty. No joke, it is superb.
All American Made (Track 12), which is also the title track, is another wonderful song. It is a political song and it is a bit provocative. It is delivered with so much honesty and integrity. The lyrics are quite heavy and thought provoking. I admire an artist like Margo that can write a song that is quite strong in its message. But, it isn’t in your face. It makes you think because of her clever lyrics.
Margo is a huge fan of Loretta Lynn and with good reason. If there is a song on here that pays homage to her influence, it has to be Do Right By Me (Track 10). I would say part Loretta Lynn and part Aretha Franklin. This song is country as all get out, but it also has a real soulful flare. Nowhere is that more evident than on this track. An absolutely heartfelt song which is a plea for equality. Either in a relationship or in other aspects of life. The backing vocals are worthy of heaven.
If you thought I was going to recommend this album, you were right. Margo Price is the real deal and she will be here for a while. This is still the ground floor so giddy up and pony up.
Listen on NPR until release day
Preorder All American Made on Third Man’s website