Home Read Albums Of The Week: Margo Price | Strays

Albums Of The Week: Margo Price | Strays

The Nashville singer-songwriter keeps pusing the sonic & stylistic bounds of country with her fourth LP — and writes her most personally revealing album while she's at it.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Margo Price has been to the mountain — and today the singer, songwriter, soon-to-be-published author, and Grammy-nominated generational talent returns with her new album Strays.

From navigating her way through multiple lifetimes’ worth of loss, lies, failure and substance abuse, she has learned how to let go of trauma, pain and addiction, and this collection of 10 original songs serves as a celebration of freedom in its many, feral forms. Extracting herself from expectations, musical genre and the material desires that drive the world, Price tackles demons of self-image, self-worth and more that came in the wake of her recent decision to quit drinking. She sings unabashedly about orgasms, love and bodily autonomy, all over her most layered, sonically ambitious and singular arrangements to date.

Produced by Jonathan Wilson (Angel Olsen, Father John Misty) and Price, Strays was primarily recorded in the summer of 2021, during a week spent at Fivestar Studio in California’s Topanga Canyon. While the songwriting began the summer prior — during a six-day, mushroom-filled trip that Price and her husband Jeremy Ivey took to South Carolina — it was in the hallucinatory hills of western L.A. that Price experienced the best recording sessions of her career. Instilled with a newfound confidence and comfortability to experiment and explore, Price and her band of Pricetags channeled their telepathic abilities into songs that span rock, psychedelic country, rhythm and blues, and glistening, iridescent pop. Having been together since before Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, her 2016 debut, Price and her band tracked live in the same room, expanding upon the notions of every other album they have made together. With additional vocals from Sharon Van Etten and Lucius, plus guitar from Mike Campbell, strings, synthesizers and a breadth of previously untapped sounds, Strays is also Price’s most collaborative record yet.

“I feel this urgency to keep moving, keep creating,” says Price. “You get stuck in the same patterns of thinking, the same loops of addiction. But there comes a point where you just have to say, ‘I’m going to be here, I’m going to enjoy it, and I’m not going to put so much stock into checking the boxes for everyone else.’ I feel more mature in the way that I write now, I’m on more than just a search for large crowds and accolades. I’m trying to find what my soul needs.”

Strays marks Price’s first new album since 2020’s acclaimed That’s How Rumors Get Started, and during the two years between, Price announced the impending publication of her debut memoir, launched her podcast Runaway Horses, became the first female artist elected to the Farm Aid Board of Directors, released collaborations with the likes of Mavis Staples, Adia Victoria and Allison Russell, wrote music for Big Mouth, and shared stages with Bob Weir, Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Lucinda Williams, Nathaniel Rateliff and Tyler Childers.

Before hitting the road again, Price published her debut memoir Maybe We’ll Make It. It tells her story of loyalty, loss, grief and forgiveness, from moving to Nashville with $57 to losing one of her newborn twin boys, pawning her wedding ring and facing rejection by almost every record label in town — to eventually reclaiming her power and fighting for the opportunity to be herself in the music business. “Margo’s book hits you right in the gut — and the heart — just like her songs,” says Willie Nelson.”