Margo Price – That’s How Rumors Get Started (Loma Vista Recordings)

Forget about how rumors get started.

Albums like this get careers kickstarted.

It’s three years since Margo Price dropped All American Made.

And the need for new music from one of the US’s rising stars has never been greater.

The birth of daughter Ramona prompted a brief career break.

But momma Price is back in the game. Big style.

So what makes That’s How Rumors Get Started a genuine album of the year contender?

Critically, this is not a country record. Not at all.

Prisoner Of The Highway (echoing a one-time prisoner to country, perhaps?) might appease long-time fans of Price’s early staples.

But the penultimate song here offers a rare glimpse of the past.

Elsewhere innovation, ambition and bravado are the buzz words.

Price mixes power pop with blues rock and dreamy soul with nu-Americana.

It might yet land the 37-year-old a third successive UK Country number one album.

But the Rumors are true: Price is moving on from the genre that made her name.

The Fleetwood Mac-styled groove of the title track glitters with gleeful intent.

Twinkle Twinkle leans on a fuzzed-up riff that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Rival Sons record.

And the layered keys underpinning Hey Child perfectly complement Price’s soulful side.

A skin-deep production job demonstrates the value of Sturgill Simpson as the album’s unmoveable anchor.

Every song is elevated to an exciting new level, pitching Price as the ‘do-it-all’ diva in waiting.

Simpson knows his subject too well (they’re best buddies). 

And he knows how to get the very best out of the Grammy-nominated Price.

That’s How Rumors Get Started is so perfectly pieced together it’s impossible to fault.

Take the seamless change of pace as Hey Child segues into Heartless Minds.

In days gone by two standout tracks would have been separated by the flip of your vinyl (gold and yellow versions are available).

But in 2020 tracks five and six sit side by side – avoiding any mid-set lag and showcasing the very best of Price’s previously hidden versatility.

Think Stevie Nicks jamming with Loretta Lynn and you get the picture.

That’s How Rumors Get Started is a calculated gamble.

It represents a laudable leap of faith.

And it’s bound to cause a few ripples in country music’s conservative heartlands.

But that’s the Price of reinvention. And this Price is right. Damn right.