Price and Ivey leave their drinks sweating on the table at Duke’s and head towards the car park for a smoke break. East Nashville is hot and muggy, the night air clotted with summer humidity, the streets clogged with taxis and Ubers. As she fans herself in the heat, Price explains that she wrote about half of the songs on Midwest Farmer’s Daughter by herself and the other half with Ivey. (There is one track, “How The Mighty Have Fallen”, by close friend Mark Fredson.) The couple collaborate constantly, each adding a word or a verse or a bridge to the other’s songs.
Yet, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter sounds as if every line comes from the same pen, which is a testament to Price’s ability to own every song she sings. Already the couple have a stash of tunes for Price’s next album, which she hopes to start recording in November or December, once the next few tours are out of the way. There’s a co-write tentatively titled “Pay Gap”, and another that Price says Ivey wrote almost entirely on his own. “I wrote one word on it, and that word was ‘shit’. It’s a great song and I really want to record it.”
After finishing their cigarettes and then their drinks, Price leads the way through Duke’s car park, behind a building that houses the offices for a small used-car lot, right up to the next bar in their crawl. The back patio of the 5 Spot is secluded, nearly deserted, and much quieter. Beers all around this time. “I don’t go out and make a fool of myself, because now people are watching. I don’t go down to the bar and cause a scene. My schedule is too gruelling. Things have definitely changed, but it’s hard to put into words. I guess that’s what the next album will be.”
Price isn’t planning a song cycle about celebrity or anything quite so lofty, yet she can’t help but write about what it means to be a working woman in the 2010s. “I’m working so hard and travelling all over, and in my downtime I’m with my child and my family. I’m cleaning my house. There are simple day-to-day pleasures that you don’t always appreciate, like just spending time with friends. The friends really get pushed to the back.”
Music bleeds from the 5 Spot onto the patio and, after a little while, Price heads inside, where the dancefloor is filled with men and women who look like they just got off work and barely had time to take off their ties and office heels. The scene is jovial and lively. She points to a small stage in the corner, barely a foot off the floor, vacant tonight, but usually booked with young acts just paying their dues in the capital of country music. Price is deeply familiar with this stage: Buffalo Clover held release parties at the 5 Spot, and after that group disbanded, she played her first solo show here with the Pricetags.
She pauses for the moment as she considers that stage, then moves on toward the front door and on to the next bar. There’s no time for nostalgia tonight. They got a babysitter, after all.
The December 2017 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – with Robert Plant on the cover. Plant and his band have also compiled our free CD, which includes tracks by Bert Jansch, Daniel Lanois, Patty Griffin, Thee Oh Sees and more. Elsewhere in the issue, we remember Tom Petty and there are new interviews with REM, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Bootsy Collins, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and Ronnie Spector. We review Morrissey, Sharon Jones, Mavis Staples, Hüsker Dü, Tim Buckley and Talk Talk and much more.