The rules of the status quo have never meant much to Margo Price, which makes the unannounced release of her new EP, Weakness, all the more fitting. Over the course of a year, Price moved from a staple of Nashville’s local alt-country scene to the savior of Americana critics across the Internet. But that catapult into stardom, jumpstarted by her signing to Jack White’s Third Man Records, hasn’t changed her trajectory artistically. The traits that earned her debut solo record, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, rankings on most of 2016’s “Best Of” lists are scattered throughout her 4-track release.
The EP’s title track channels the unabashed honesty that made her previous release such a breath of fresh air. The fragility of being human can be hard to face, but Price tackles it without hesitation. “Just Like Love” also peers into the darker corners of everyday life and the struggles of those you pass by without a thought.
The most moving track on Weakness is by far “Good Luck (for Ben Eyestone).” Eyestone was another staple of the Nashville music scene, a longtime drummer and employee of Nashville’s bar and music venue the 5 Spot. He passed away suddenly on July 12 as he was preparing to undergo treatment for colon cancer. Eyestone was just 28 years old.
Although the song was written before Eyestone’s passing, the song feels hand-crafted for a community still reeling from the loss of one of its own.
But if you’re craving another rollicking honky tonk tune, Price has you covered. The biting “Paper Cowboy” has a slow burn that rolls into a truly badass solo, which shows off the talents of her highly underrated band.
Overall, the new EP sounds more expansive and loose, channeling the infectious power of her live shows. According to NPR Music, Price recorded the project at the historic Sun Studios in Memphis, Tenn., where she also recorded Midwest Farmer’s Daughter in just three days. This time, she elevates the old-school country vibe by plucking psychedelic, soul and funk elements from the 1970s that have also recently been embraced by artists like Sturgill Simpson, Anderson East and Cale Tyson.
But make no mistake, Margo Price is still in an element that’s all her own. And country music is all the better for it.