When Margo Price recently bumped her next studio album from its planned May release date, she promised that fans wouldn’t have to go cold turkey on her in the coming months, vowing that “in the meantime, I’m still going to release some singles and be making lots of music for y’all anyway that I possibly can.” She’s made good on that, not just with a single but with a full live album that’s getting an impromptu release exclusively on Bandcamp today.
Titled “Perfectly Imperfect at the Ryman,” the collection is taken, as the title would indicate, from the country singer’s sold-out three-night stand at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorum, which took place two years ago this week. The 11-song set includes three duets, with Jack White on the 2007 White Stripes song “Honey, We Can’t Afford to Look This Cheap,” Emmylou Harris on “Wild Women” and Sturgill SImpson on Rodney Crowell’s “Ain’t Livin’ Long Like This.”
Fans don’t have to worry about too much duplication from her two prior studio albums in the rest of the live collection either. She also covers Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary,” and places her signature song, “Hurtin’ (On the Bottle),” into a medley that includes two other alcohol-themed classics, Merle Haggard’s “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink” and Willie Nelson’s “Whiskey River.” She debuts two previously unreleased songs, the rocking “Worthless Gold” and “Revelations,” the latter of which she says was mostly written by her husband, Jeremy Ivey. And she rearrangees her album tracks “A Little Pain” and “Weekender” to the point that the former is now identified as a “waltz” in its title and the latter is officially appended as a “funk version.”
The “Perfectly Imperfect” album is being released as a fundraiser benefiting MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.
One of the tracks that is more familiar, the title song from her previous release, “All American Made,” is being released separately as a live music video.
It’s Price’s first live album to be widely available. She previously had a limited edition double-LP, “Live at the Hamilton,” and DVD, “Live at Austin City Limits,” that were released exclusively to subscribers to the Third Man Vault series.
“Two years ago today I headlined at the Ryman and it was something I had dreamed of since I was a little girl,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “We did three nights in a row and recorded all of them. I am so excited that we are releasing it on Bandcamp today — the recordings are rough and the performances are raw, but there was a magic there and the band was on fire. We played unreleased songs, alternative album versions and had lots of special guests. Net profits of the album will be donated to MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund for the first four weeks of its release.
Her third studio album, “That’s How Rumors Get Started,” co-produced with Simpson, is due to be her first for the Loma Vista label, through Concord, after two with White’s imprint, Third Man. It was announced in January and then delayed indefinitely in March, with Price saying then that she wanted to be able to tour behind it and it would probably arrive in summer. She hasn’t indicated yet whether the increasingly daunting prospects for 2020 touring will result in the album being pushed further back or not.
Price wrote an emotional and absorbing essay for Vogue, published May 8, that described the turmoil of her life in the last two years, apart from the happy experience of cutting the new album, including a difficult birth, a tornado and a serious illness within the home. Hours after a listening party for the new album, the east Nashville tornado devastated her neighborhood, followed by her husband, Ivey, coming down with COVID-19, an illness she wrote he was still slowly recuperating from many weeks later.