Margo Price took her classic country from East Nashville to New York’s Ed Sullivan Theater last night, making her network television debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Clad in a long black dress, she and her band chugged through an electric version of her single “Hurtin’ (On the Bottle)” that made no attempt to tone down the jammy, jangly twang for a national audience.
Armed with a 1965 Gibson acoustic, the guitar may have been vintage but the music wasn’t. Although Price’s version of country is evocative of Loretta Lynn, Tanya Tucker and Dolly Parton and certainly isn’t shy when it comes to swirls of pedal steel or outlaw vamps, she sings with a fully modern perspective about heartbreak, jailbreak and breaking past life’s endless hardships. Sometimes, as she confesses in “Hurtin’,” with the help of a bottle of Bulleit bourbon.
Much has been made of a new class of country singers armed to soothe a bro-steeped industry, pointing most often to Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton. GQ recently ran a feature on those artists, calling them the “country badasses who are shaking up the Nashville establishment.” But with songs like “Hurtin’,” voices like Price’s show that (along with the likes of Aubrie Sellers, Nikki Lane and Brandy Clark, among others) 2016’s twang takeover might just be female-led this time.
“Hurtin'” is Price’s first single from her debut solo album, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, which will be released on Jack White’s Third Man Records on March 25th.
“I heard through the grapevine that Jack was into what I was doing. I sent them the album I recorded in Memphis and they really liked it,” Price told Rolling Stone Country. “They were the first people who didn’t want to change the album.”