Margo Price – “Black Wolf Blues,” “Mind Travel,” & “Unoriginal Sin” (Feat. Mike Campbell)
Last year, the country-rock star Margo Price released her album Strays. Right now, she’s in the process of following that LP with Strays II, and she’s releasing this one in a different way, dropping the nine-track LP in three installments of three songs each. In August, Price released the first three Strays II tracks, which included collaborations with Buck Meek and Jonathan Wilson. Today, she’s released the next three, a suite of songs under the title Act II: Mind Travel.
Margo Price recorded all three new songs with producer Jonathan Wilson, and she co-wrote the first two, “Black Wolf Blues” and “Mind Travel,” with her husband, the singer-songwriter Jeremy Ivey. The third, “Unoriginal Sin,” is a collaboration with the legendary Mike Campbell, the former guitarist for Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers who recently toured with Fleetwood Mac as one of Lindsey Buckingham’s replacements. All three songs are inspired by mushroom experiences and by Price and Ivey’s attempts to grapple with death. Here’s what she says about them:
The psychedelic journey continues down the blurry rabbit hole of time and space. We were lucky to have Mike Campbell co-write a dark rocker called “Unoriginal Sin.” Working with him on some of these songs was like having a master class in songwriting. Sometimes there are dark corners you haven’t explored for some time, but it does some good to clean them out.
“Mind Travel” is one of the more lyrically strange songs I’ve written. Jeremy and I wrote it in South Carolina. It’s pretty much beat poetry on drugs with a backbeat — it was influenced by having an out of body experience on psilocybin. We both had some pretty incredible breakthroughs about accepting death and just reckoning with how fast it’s all going. It’s okay to be reflective and remember the past as long as you don’t get stuck back there. This part of the trip is where you learn to be satisfied with the present.
I love how these songs came together. “Black Wolf Blues” in particular, Jeremy started writing the words from my exact point of view — he found myself reflecting on my ancestors, my grandparents (Paul and Mary Price) and their love and how it grew despite the drought and the loss of their farm. I wrote the chords and the melody and helped finish the verses and chorus. Even though it has a sweetness and a nostalgic way about it, there is a looming darkness — the wolf who’s been watching and weaving his way like a stray throughout the entire album. Look for him. It’s like an invisible plague hanging in the air, it’s the man in the suit and tie who’s lying to you through his straight, white teeth. He hides in shadows.
All three tracks are pretty and polished, and the old-school musicianship doesn’t necessarily display the songs’ psychedelic origins. I bet they’d all sound good on shrooms, though. Listen below.
Strays II is out 10/12 on Loma Vista. Pre-order it here.