Margo Price - The Social, London

London’s The Social is a tiny venue below a tiny bar. So tiny in fact that it’s far too easy to walk straight by it and have to circle the block. So it’s an interesting place to find one of the hottest new country acts of 2016, Margo Price. Heading all the way from Nashville, predominantly for a slot at The Great Escape festival and a headline show at The Borderline, this show is a bonus. At first glance Price is a box ticking exercise, songs include themes of drinking, men, and jail, all staples of her chosen genre. On close listen though this is music from the heart; clever, and at times, really moving.

There’ve already been more comparisons than need to be made with some of the greats of country music, but what shines through in the darkness of this dingy London venue is the sparkle of Price’s honesty, and reality. These are proper stories. Of her life; of real incidents and situations. Despite their sometimes dark nature, the songs she performs are interspersed with humour, both in the lyrics and in the between song banter. The fantastic, and searingly autobiographical ‘Hands Of Time’ is tossed out early in the set, while tracks that settle deep into her debut album take centre stage live: ‘Four Years Of Chances’ emotionally rocks; ‘Angel On My Shoulder’ warms the heart; and ‘Weekender’ a tale of a depressing tour to Florida.

In much the same way that Sturgill Simpson stormed onto the scene in 2014, Price has all the attributes to make a mark for herself with country purists. And artists like Simpson, Jason Isbell, and Kacey Musgraves show that all you need is talent and honesty. Sounds simple, but in these days of Nashville pop all too rare.

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