Margo Price was surprised Tuesday (3-7) night when she was beckoned to the headquarters of her record label Third Man Records, and walked in the doors to find a throng of friends, band members, and other supporters there to congratulate her on winning the 2017 American Music Prize for her album Midwest Farmers Daughter. Among the supporters was Third Man Records President Jack White, and journalist Craig Shelburne who presented Margo Price with the prize. According to The Tennessean, Price thought she was attending a business meeting, and instead walked into a party in her honor.
The American Music Prize, or AMP for short, is meant to reward the Best Debut Album to help promote new music of excellence. The prize celebrates the album format and was originally inspired by the UK’s Mercury Music Prize, Canada’s Polaris Music Prize and The Australian Music Prize. Eligible albums are judged by a panel of independent, expert judges who agree to only take into account the music they hear, and not commercial success. Recipients of the American Music Prize receive $25,000 in prize money. 2017 is the second year the prize has been awarded.
Midwest Farmers Daughter was released on March 25th, 2016 by Third Man, and was the first country music album released on the label. Price sold a car to help pay for the production of the album. As of March the album had sold just over 48,000 copies.
The 16 judges who ultimately choose The American Prize winner whittled down the field from 250 initial albums. The list was cut down to 55 in December 2016, and when the short list was announced in early February, Margo Price made the cut. Other short list nominees included:
- Big Thief- ‘Masterpiece’
- Bob Moses – ‘Days Gone By’
- case/lang/veirs – ‘case/lang/veirs’
- EL VY – ‘Return To The Moon’
- Empress Of – ‘Me’
- Fantastic Negrito – ‘The Last Days of Oakland’
- Gallant – ‘Ology’
- Julien Baker – ‘Sprained Ankle’
- Margaret Glaspy- ‘Emotions and Math’
- Son Little – ‘Son Little’
- Whitney – ‘Light Upon the Lake’