I usually think this when I watch country music videos, to be fair, but living in my New York seems so much worse than living in the Nashville of Margo Price’s “Hurtin' on the Bottle,” with its smoky bars and slots and fights spilling into the back lot, and its dusty sunrises, tassels, and fringe. But most of all it’s for her sound. Price recorded her debut album, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, at the historic Sun Studios, in Memphis, before finding a home for her unsparing, classic tracks at Jack White’s label Third Man Records, where she recently became their first-ever country signing. The album will be released March 25, 2016.
Price’s “Hurtin' on the Bottle” 7-inch comes out tomorrow, but it’s a song that seems like it might’ve almost never been made. “I had been gifted a giant bottle of Bulleit Bourbon and a couple friends came over to help us drink it,” she said of the track’s origins. “As the bottle neared the bottom, I said out loud, ‘Man, we put a hurtin’ on that bottle,’ and my buddy Caitlin Rose said, ‘We are writing that song right now.’ And with one eye open, we did.” Good instinct.
Watch the video above, and read a short interview below.
So, is Nashville bullshit or not?
A big part of it is and I know that all too well. That being said, I've met some of the most amazing writers, pickers, producers, travelers, poets and artists in general here. This city has a magic to it that brings me back again and again. Nashville is my home and I love it dearly.
Are the bars in the video pretty familiar spots?
Yes, they are. The 5 Spot has been a long time watering hole of ours. We've spent many nights hanging out there performing and otherwise. I bet I've sang on that stage more than any other in Nashville. I cut my teeth there and met so many good people: Kenny Vaughan, Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, Robert Ellis, Cory Chisel and even my one of my very best friends, Kevin Black.
The video also features Fran's Eastside Tavern, which is right down the street from our house. It's like a methed-out Five Spot with karaoke. I always sing "Stand By Your Man" and "I Got Friends (Fran's) in Low Places" when I go. When we went in to shoot the video, we were pleasantly surprised to see our old buddy Rick, from Dino's, was in there bartending. He even has an unscripted cameo of him doing what he does best, slinging beer. We all thought he had retired.
The music you’re making under your own name is a lot more straight-up country than your old band Buffalo Clover was—what inspired that shift?
I've always loved country music. It's the songs and stories of the workin' man. There's more focus on the lyrics, which I think is the backbone of any good song. I started out playing country and folk music in my early teens, so it's like coming home for me.
You clearly have a good ear for traditional sounds—is that something you’ve bonded with Third Man over?
I have a lot of respect for what Jack White and the folks at Third Man do. They share my love for vinyl records and all things analog. It's refreshing to find a label that puts out honest, no-frills, real music and I'm humbled to be a part of a group of people who haven't lost their imaginations in the process of becoming adults.