The Pandemic Work Diary of Margo Price, Nashville Rebel

The Pandemic Work Diary of Margo Price, Nashville Rebel

Though Margo Price has long seen herself as a counterculturalist — especially within Nashville’s country scene — she has been spending the pandemic like many people: stuck at home and patiently waiting for it to be over.

“It’s kind of like the rug’s been pulled out from under me,” Ms. Price, 37, said in a recent phone interview. “I felt like this third album was going to be so fun to tour and play at festivals, and I had just taken so much time off after having a baby, too. I was really ready to get back to work.”

Her third studio album, “That’s How Rumors Get Started,” was released in July, but on May 28 she’ll get to perform it live for the first time, at an outdoor concert in Pelham, Tenn., outside Nashville.

Ms. Price is among many hopeful musicians who are collaborating with venues that allow space for social distancing.

“The arts, in general, are really struggling,” she said, “and we need to figure out a way to get back at it and preserve the venues that we all play at.”

And even during this pandemic, while raising her two children alongside her husband, Jeremy Ivey, and writing a memoir, Ms. Price has been in and out of the studio, recording two albums.

“I’m a disciple of all things that are close to the ground — roots music, folk, blues, soul,” Ms. Price said of her new music. “I want to have enough genres that people can’t exactly put their finger on one thing.”

Interviews are conducted by email, text and phone, then condensed and edited.

7 a.m. I wake up and have a lemon water followed by a black coffee. I make the kids waffles and take my 10-year-old son, Judah, to Montessori school. I spend the next couple of hours playing with my 1½-year-old daughter, Ramona.

9 a.m. I put on some Miles Davis and start a fire in the fireplace. We stretch and dance and play with puzzles before going outside to enjoy the sunshine.

10:30 a.m. I’m driving to the Cash Cabin in Hendersonville. I’ve been working on two albums;being in the studio has given me a sense of purpose while I’m unable to play live shows.

11 a.m. Jeremy and I tune our guitars and do some vocal warm-ups. We play through a song a couple times to get a tempo and begin tracking it. We can overdub the rest of the band later.

1:15 p.m. We stop for lunch around the fire pit that’s burning here 24/7.

2 p.m. We track two more songs.

3 p.m. Jeremy leaves to pick up Judah. I stay to lay down guitar and vocals for another song.

5 p.m. I get home and take both children on a walk to the local church while my husband cooks dinner. (He does most of the cooking and is a phenomenal chef.)

5:30 p.m. We play hide-and-seek in an abandoned church. They don’t have services in here anymore, but our neighborhood pod is using it as a space to teach our children in.

6:30 p.m. We sit down to a home-cooked dinner. For the last five days, Jeremy was off recording his next album, so we’re celebrating him being home.

7 p.m. I clean up the dinner table, wash the dishes and throw in a load of laundry while Jeremy gives Ramona a bath. My mom, Candace, is helping Judah with his reading. She’s been here a lot during the pandemic, and we couldn’t do it without her!

8 p.m. I answer some emails and catch up on work while Jeremy reads to Ramona.

8:30 p.m. Ramona comes out and says, “Mama, sing to me” — she just started speaking in full sentences a couple weeks ago. She requests “Up Above” (that’s what she calls “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”) and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

9:30 p.m. Jeremy and I listen to some rough mixes of his songs.

10 p.m. We sit down to watch “Nomadland.”

12:30 a.m. We move from the couch to the bed. Both of us fell asleep after the movie.

8:15 a.m. I wake up to a phone call even though I was planning to sleep in. Jeremy and I tell each other about some crazy disjointed dreams.

9 a.m. Ramona and I brush our teeth and hair. We play Legos while I help Jeremy write a lyric to one of his songs.

9:45 a.m. I take my two dogs for a run at a nearby state park.

11 a.m. Jeremy and I just arrived at Frothy Monkey to grab some breakfast outside on the patio. I’m editing my memoir for the next few hours — I’m on the second draft and have to turn it in at the end of the month. (I’m on Page 30 of some 500.)

1 p.m. I take a Zoom interview with the “Poptarts” podcast for Bust Magazine.

2 p.m. I start editing the book again. Currently drinking my fourth cup of coffee.

4 p.m. Ramona wakes up from her nap, so we’re heading on a walk. My neighbors own these two horses that are rescues, so we like to feed them carrots.

5:45 p.m. Ramona is drawing, Jeremy is cooking, and I’m working on my book again.

6:30 p.m. Jeremy cooked veggie stir fry (rice, peppers and oyster mushrooms that were grown and given to us by John Carter Cash when we were over there recording).

7 p.m. We’re watching “Toy Story,” but the kids got distracted, so we’re all running around the house and wrestling to get some energy out.

8 p.m. I’m reading Mona books and doing the bedtime routine while Jeremy helps Judah with some homework.

9 p.m. Jeremy made a fire outside, and I cracked a soda water and rolled a joint. We’re sitting out here talking, listening to music and looking at the stars.

7:30 a.m. Ramona’s playing with magnets, and I emptied out a piggy bank so she could put the coins back in. That kept her busy for about an hour while I made her breakfast.

8:45 a.m. Mona put on her red rubber rain boots, and we’re going outside to enjoy the weather. The ice is almost all melted, and we’re walking along the creek that runs in front of our house. We stop to throw in rocks and splash around in the puddle.

10 a.m. I’m driving to Golden Hour Salon for my first haircut since the pandemic started.

Noon Back home drinking more coffee. I’ve been editing my book in a large walk-in closet that we converted to be a part-time office.

1:30 p.m. Jeremy took Ramona to the pediatrician to get immunizations.

2 p.m. I took advantage of the empty house and worked on a song. It’s so nice today, so I took a guitar outside to the swing and practiced finger picking while listening to the birds.

4 p.m. Everyone’s home, and we’re hanging out on the couch reading. Judah is whittling and sanding a stick he found — he wants to make a sword.

5 p.m. Jeremy and I pick up some suits from a place on Music Row called Any Old Iron. It’s owned by a local designer, Andrew Clancey, whose designs and beading are so psychedelic and artistic. I adore him. (He also makes great sequin and rhinestone masks.)

6:15 p.m. We pick up dinner from Superica, a great Tex-Mex restaurant, where I always order the shrimp tacos. They’re sinfully good.

7 p.m. My mom already put Ramona to bed since she missed her nap, so Jeremy and I are reading to Judah. It’s nice to give him extra attention when we can because the toddler demands so much.

8:30 p.m. I pour a tea and draw a bath.

9:30 p.m. Turned on the new “Unsolved Mysteries,” and I’m doing a little stretching and a free-weight workout. I used to go to the gym all the time, but since the pandemic, I’ve been forcing myself to work out at home.

8 a.m. Ramona isn’t feeling great and is running a little fever, so we let her watch a little TV.

9:30 a.m. My hair and makeup artist, Tarryn, arrives to help me do my hair for a photo shoot. This is only the third time I’ve had my hair or makeup done all year.

11 a.m. The photographer arrived, set up a blue backdrop and very quickly snapped some photos.

Noon I’m eating lox for breakfast and having another cup of coffee.

1 p.m. Went outside to our picnic table and started editing my book.

2 p.m. I’m picking Mona up from the neighbors to put her down for a nap and go get a Covid test. I take one weekly just to be extra safe.

3:45 p.m. I’m back home, and the kids are outside jumping on the trampoline.

4:45 p.m. Jeremy’s making dinner, and we’re making a fort.

5:45 p.m. We put on Billie Holiday and sit down to eat. We hold hands, and Judah leads us in a prayer. His dinner prayers almost always include asking that God help the homeless and end coronavirus.

6:30 p.m. Judah and I went into the music room to play double drums. He makes up a beat, and I have to copy it and vice versa.

7:30 p.m. I read to Ramona while Jeremy and Judah build a fire and make s’mores.

8:30 p.m. Both kids are in bed. I go out to enjoy the fire, and my friend joins. We pick guitars and drink turmeric tea until 12:30 a.m.

8 a.m. Back at it again with the kids and the morning routine. I make blueberry pancakes while Ramona plays with pots and pans. The house is really trashed — toys everywhere — but it’s Friday, so I don’t stress about it. I’ll clean later.

9 a.m. We go on a walk but get interrupted by the rain. Back inside we FaceTime my 90-year-old grandmother. She beat Covid a couple months ago but hasn’t been able to be out of the nursing home in a year. We call her often to check in.

10 a.m. Jeremy relieves me so I can work on editing my book.

Noon Ate oatmeal for breakfast, thought about a John Prine lyric and came inside to pick some guitar.

1 p.m. Recorded a SiriusXM D.J. takeover for a Canadian station called Northern Americana. I made a playlist for International Women’s Day.

2:30 p.m. Ramona woke up from her nap, so we’re jumping on the trampoline.

6 p.m. My mom took the children on a long walk, but everyone’s back for dinner.

6:05 p.m. My daughter throws a huge tantrum (terrible twos are coming early here) so I spend some time calming her down. We take some deep breaths and sit in a quiet room.

6:20 p.m. I finally get her calmed and sit down to a cold plate of delicious food.

7 p.m. I give Ramona a bath and distract her with some washable bath crayons to paint on the bathtub while I sing and play guitar. Jeremy and Judah play Zelda in his bedroom.

7:30 p.m. The toilet overflows, Jeremy fixes it with a few choice four-letter words, I laugh.

8 p.m. We’re all reading books, kissing foreheads and saying good night.

10 p.m. We turn on “Judas and the Black Messiah.” The house is trashed, but I don’t care — I’ve cleaned all week, and I’m tired. We can worry about that tomorrow.

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