So, How Was Your Decade, Margo Price?
So, How Was Your Decade is a series in which the decade’s most innovative musicians answer our questionnaire about the music, culture and memorable moments that shaped their decade. We’ll be rolling these pieces out throughout December.
In 2014, a then-unsigned Margo Price headlined Rolling Stone Country’s new artist showcase at Nashville’s Exit/In. Two years later, she was signed to Jack White’s Third Man Records label, had released her debut album Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, and was about to perform on Saturday Night Live.
Put simply, she’s had a hell of a decade.
“I’d gotten rejections from nearly every label in town and around town, so it felt really good,” she told Rolling Stone in 2015.
As the 2020s approach, Price is poised for another remarkable run. The follow-up to 2017’s All American Made is in the can, she’s produced albums for Jessi Colter and her own husband Jeremy Ivey, and she’s booking shows from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, to New York City, where she’ll perform at the Tibet House Benefit Concert with Iggy Pop and Patti Smith — both of whom figure prominently into Price’s recollections of the 2010s.
Despite the meteoric rise, Price still hasn’t gotten above her raising. Just last week, she dropped by her favorite local watering hole to sit in with her band the Pricetags and even tend bar.
My favorite album of the 2010s was: Sturgill Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds In Country Music. That album changed the game for a lot of people, including me. It was a massive influence on Nashville and especially in our friend circle.
My favorite song of the 2010s was: I almost gave this one for Album of the Decade but I’m addicted to Brittany Howard’s new album [Jaime]. I’ve been listening to “Stay High” — it’s the only thing that puts my baby to sleep. It’s a song I wish I wrote. I really adore her in a huge way. I met her when she was working for the post office. I feel like I know that it’s really fresh, but I feel like this album should be on everybody’s albums of the decade list. It’s so smart, and that song in particular is so simple and so brilliant. It’s become my mantra.
The artist who had the best decade was: Dolly Parton. She’s had such a rebirth of her fanbase. Obviously there’s not a lot of things that people see eye to eye on anymore, but Dolly is this cultural icon. And she’s had a comeback with a younger generation. I also had written down Kendrick Lamar, who I really love, but he’s been so low-key. What’s he doing??
The craziest thing that happened to me in the 2010s was: I went from being a waitress to playing SNL. It’s been absolutely a complete turnaround from what was going on. I couldn’t pay my bills; I was overdrawn in my bank account. Then Third Man signed me and I really owe everything to them, because I could have slipped through the cracks.
My least favorite trend in music this decade was: Artists getting Botox, but Jeremy is yelling “gang vocals”; the ooh-ooh-oohs and the whistling.
The TV show I couldn’t stop streaming in the 2010s was: Breaking Bad. It was the best. I’ve watched it twice all the way through and then went on to watch Better Call Saul as well. I didn’t watch [El Camino] yet. I don’t get a lot of time to watch movies these days.
The best new slang term of the decade was: I like the slang terms “Getting catfished,” which I think came from this decade. Most slang terms feel so new, but “getting catfished,” I feel you can throw that into a song. There’s some poeticism to what’s going on there. We all get catfished every day online.
The best live show I saw in the 2010s was: Jeremy and I were talking about this: Neil Young with Promise of the Real, 2017, at Farm Aid. They did a version of “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World” that was like 17 minutes. They’d keep ending it, and people would go crazy, and then they’d kick back in. Neil’s such a badass. I carry around in my purse a Neil Young All-Access pass, so I can stand side stage like the biggest groupie. Just in case, you never know…
The most surprising encounter I had with a fellow artist this decade was: Iggy Pop. I met him in England; we were doing Jools Holland, and all the bands play in a circle, you know? We hung out with him and Josh Homme before the show, and they were like, “It’s our ritual; we do tequila shots before the show.” But it was Josh’s birthday so they were doing multiple tequila shots. So we did shots, and then we go out and play, and during “Passenger,” Iggy comes over and starts singing to me and says my name in this low voice: “Margooooo.” We danced together for a moment, and I think that was probably the most amazingly bizarre thing that ever happened.
The misstep I learned the most from in the 2010s was: Checking my DMs. You open a couple dick pics and you’re like, ok, I’m not going in there again.
The best book I read this decade was: Without a doubt, Patti Smith’s Just Kids. It inspired me to write a memoir.
Something cool I did this decade that nobody noticed was: I was torn between either saying producing or starting a weed line with Willie Nelson. I produced Jeremy’s record [The Dream and the Dreamer] and have a couple more that are coming out. But I started a weed line with Willie and have been donating a portion of the profits to this non-profit organization called the Bail Project. It helps people who can’t afford to pay bail. It affects a lot of minorities, people of color, and women. I felt like I couldn’t have a boutique weed line and be a white person in this world and not try to… it’s terrible that people are still incarcerated from it. My line is called All American Made and it’s grown by a Native American woman who lives in California and she is a drummer, and she was like, “I’m going to start a weed farm.” We sold out of it last year, so they’re working on growing a new crop. We’re selling more weed than records probably. [Laughs]
The strangest thing someone said about me in the media this decade was: There was this article in USA Today, when they reviewed my album, they said that “Cocaine Cowboys” was a direct reply to a Blake Shelton song. I don’t know any of Blake Shelton’s music; I couldn’t tell you one of his songs. It’s so funny how misinformation gets printed. That song is about a guy name Cowboy who sold coke in East Nashville.
The best outfit I wore this decade was: I was all about the suits this decade. I went full-on Hilary Clinton pantsuit in every color. There was this red suit that this girl Ashland embroidered for me, with pot leaves and crosses. I lived in that thing until I got pregnant and it wouldn’t fit anymore.
The most “2010s” moment of the 2010s was: Trump being elected. The world being turned upside-down. Where do we go from here? [Laughs]
My biggest hope for the 2020s is: That we can get climate change under control and that people start making an effort to stop the damage we’re doing. I’m really concerned for our children’s future. We’re probably going to live to see it. I was reading an article about how the southeast region and Tennessee and these areas are really going to suffer because we’re getting too much moisture, and it said all of our bridges and roads will collapse. We have a water crisis going on, and I feel like nobody is doing anything.