Margo Price’s solo debut starts with a bang with “Hands of Time,” an epic story-song about a woman leaving home and attempting to make her way in the world. “All I want to do,” she sings, bathed in a wash of countrypolitan strings, “is make my own path/ I know what I am, I know what I have.” That remarkable song’s autobiographical urge — and Price’s album title, too — clearly have Loretta Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter” in mind. Price has Lynn’s spitfire sass and her way with a pen, too — and that pen keeps finding its way back to the sounds typical of Lynn’s heyday. Save for a couple of diversions into rollicking country-soul and ’60s-vintage pop, her songs are modern tweaks of classic honky-tonk, from the Waylon-esque boom-chick of “Tennessee Song” to the uptempo fiddle-and-steel combinations of “This Town Gets Around” and the two-stepping put-down “About to Find Out.” For those on the lookout for alternatives to what currently passes for country music, “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter” is the latest reason to cheer.
ESSENTIAL “Hands of Time“Stuart Munro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.