Interview: Margo Price Keeps Sets ‘Fresh’ With Regionally Influenced Covers
In 2018, Margo Price has established herself as a must-see act at festivals across the country and during her own headlining shows, both on the strength of her sophomore album, All American Made, and her growing reputation for action-packed, cameo-heavy live performances. During her May 2018 three-night Ryman run alone, Price brought out Sturgill Simpson, Emmylou Harris, Jack White and more to perform classic country duets, in addition giving to a high-energy solo performance that saw her moving from drum solos to intricate guitar work to powerful, intimate vocal ballads, using every inch of the stage to engage her audience.
According to Price, her fast-moving live shows are no accident.
"We like to keep things fresh for us so we don't go on autopilot," she explained to The Boot in a recent interview. "You see some bands that play the same live set for years. It's mind-blowing that they can do that and not go crazy."
In order to keep her live sets new and exciting, Price says she looks to the unique musical styles or histories of the regions in which she's performing to personalize her performances. "Like, when we played Las Vegas, we opened for Jamey Johnson, and so we did the Gram Parson song ["Ooh Las Vegas"]," Price shares.
"It's really nice to be able to do something for the people at the show," she adds. "Somebody in New York is not gonna see the same show as somebody who's seeing us on the West Coast. There's always gonna be something different and special for that region."
No matter where they see her perform, fans will have plenty of chances to catch Price's regionally tailored act. She has a busy touring schedule planned for the year ahead, including a stop at the Borderland Music + Arts Festival in East Aurora, N.Y., in September. A few months later, in February of 2019, Price is slotted to play the inaugural Girls Just Wanna Weekend in Riviera Maya, Mexico, which boasts an all-women lineup and was orchestrated by Brandi Carlile. Price knows that as a headlining female act, she's often in the minority, so playing a show with an entirely female lineup is an important part of changing the perception that only male artists can book festivals.
"I've played so many festivals this year, and I look at the headliners who get to play for an hour and a half or two hours, and it's usually men," Price points out. "Not only that, but just the percentages of men playing in general, compared to women, they're totally off. So I think it's important to talk about that and shine a light on it."
Price notes that that gender discrepancy between artists asked to perform at festivals is another reason why she works so hard to make her live show a memorable experience. "I do it because I like to do it and it's fun, but also because being a woman, you sometimes have to work twice as hard to get respect," she says. "So we've really worked hard to make our live shows super exciting, and I know I have the capacity to headline, so I'm glad we're getting a chance to."
In the meantime, the country star is looking ahead towards releasing new music later in the year. "I do have a little surprise that's going to come out this fall, just a small project, but I'm really looking forward to putting out something new," Price hints. "And then I'm going back into the studio this December to record my third full-length. We've got a ton of songs already written."
"There is definitely going to be a little bit of a genre switch," she adds. "I don't want to give away too many details, but I'm looking forward to it."
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