Next week, Louisville Free Public Library’s Main Branch is hosting Margo Price (Carmichael’s will be on hand, selling books) for conversation, songs, and book-signing for “Maybe We’ll Make It.” This is Price’s own story not only of finding her unique musical voice (which she calls “vulnerable and strong, all at the same time”), but of managing through some of life’s hardest blows and career setbacks. She’s often aided but sometimes hindered by quite a cast of characters.
The chronicle leads up to Price’s recordings for Jack White’s Third Man Records and her performance on Saturday Night Live in 2016. Along the way are the scrambling-and-rambling saga of her band Buffalo Clover, and a lot of dysfunctional adventures (it’s no wonder her breakthrough song was “I put a hurtin’ on the bottle…”). There’s the amusing tale of her dog interrupting a music-and-nature idyll by rolling in her husband’s poop; but also the chapters where the singer/songwriter has to somehow make it through the very worst that can happen to a new parent. Throughout, Price’s voice is often journalistic—but poetic zingers of self-effacement and determination come in perfect timing, just as in her songs.
Price’s book tour will be overlapping with a concert tour that gets in full swing once her upcoming album “Strays” comes out. Meanwhile, LEO had the opportunity for some email Q&A with Price:
LEO: How do you think book touring will compare to the touring life of shows and concerts?
Margo Price: I love connecting with my fans on tour, I truly get something back from playing for people, even though it can be a grueling and lonely experience at times. I am going to have someone moderate each conversation so I won’t be completely alone [S.G. Goodman will join Price at LFPL].
LEO: “Maybe We’ll Make It” ends before Covid and many changes in the music industry, the economy, etc. For someone contemplating the start of a journey like yours—leaving home, busking to be heard, struggling for money—do you have updates to how you’d advise them?
Everyone’s road to living an artistic life is singular and different, and the world today has changed a lot from back when I was coming up. The music business and the world in general are evolving and devolving at warp speed and we have the internet to both thank and blame for that. But I would advise anyone wanting to write songs and play music for a living to just sit down and do it. And don’t get distracted by success or worry…If you write songs, you’re already a songwriter. No one needs to come along to tell you that. Bob Dylan said it best: “She’s got everything she needs, she’s an artist, she don’t look back.”
LEO: Your strength at sharing a concise and realistic view—it comes through in the book as in your songs. But one is writing at length, while songwriting is more about fitting syllables and anticipated vocalization to a tune. Do these need different mindsets?
I have always had an incessant inner monologue running through my head…I always knew that I wanted to write a book but I was always too busy chasing the songs. Finally when I became pregnant with my daughter Ramona back in late 2018, I was standing still long enough to really focus the time to writing something substantial. I wrote five days a week, around 9 a.m. to 1 or 2 p.m. Once I got in the groove, it was so rewarding.
The event will happen Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Main Library Branch located at 301 York St. Admission is free (requested registration at lfpl.org).
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