TVD Live: Margo Price and Lilly Hiatt at the 9:30 Club, 12/27

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNSTo start her short tour leading up to New Year’s Eve, Margo Price rewrote the old Loretta Lynn tune “One’s On the Way.”

Fitting, since she’s showing off her own pregnancy—five months along—with husband and band member, Jeremy Ivey. But she’s also topical enough to adapt that old country hit (written by Shel Silverstein) so that Beyonce and Cardi B replace references to Liz and Jackie, while some lines from the 1971 original certainly still hold up 47 years later (“the girls in New York City, they all march for women’s lib”).

Price, 35, was glowing in her tour opening date in DC, perhaps because of her bump beneath her guitar, but also beaming from reaching her heights. She was happy to be headlining the storied 9:30 Club and basking in her first Grammy nomination she’d been given a couple of weeks earlier. It’s for Best New Artist, which is kind of a laugh for someone working for a decade, finally attracting a wider audience with two strong albums on Jack White’s Third Man Records. But deserved nonetheless.

Price is a fierce artist who seems country to the core and yet dismisses entirely the bland commercial hybrid of contemporary country radio (which seems to have ignored her in return). Behind her strong, clear voice and no-nonsense performing style, she’s got a solid handle on songwriting and even introduced a new song, possibly the only one to combine the legacies of John Lennon, Elvis Presley, and Martin Luther King, “Long Live the King.”

A couple of others are still yet to be recorded, such as her robbery tale “Pick ’N Save,” which has been kicking around a couple of years. And there’s a recent one about someone who starts dating a friend’s ex, called “Leftovers” (which slyly rhymes the word “asshole” with “casserole”).

Another new one, “Revelations,” which reconsidered Jesus as a musician dropped by his label, had her and her co-writer hubby Ivey sharing a microphone together for an intimate moment (though she worried that with his guitar amplifier conking out, they’d have to rely on her’s).

But she has talent to burn. Besides guitar, she was effective playing solo piano on her “All American Made” which referenced the weapons Reagan sold to Iran (“all American made”), and had a benediction for the petulant resident a couple of miles away (“I wonder if the president gets much sleep at night”—though she noted that she wrote the song during the Obama administration).

When she stepped back to play drums on a secondary set as her band wailed along, it almost seemed like she was showing off. But it all made for a full service show, one that showcased her own songwriting while touching onto a couple of her bigger influences, which in addition to the Loretta Lynn included in the encore, both Bob Dylan’s “Things Have Changed” and Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.”

Price is a kind of queen of the East Nashville, where more reverence is paid to rootsy Americana than the usual Music City glitter. And for her short New Year’s tour, culminating in a show streamed from Brooklyn on Sirius XM radio, she brought along a neighbor, Lilly Haitt, who is very talented in her own right.

The daughter of John Hiatt is rockier than the headliner, sticking to electric guitar. She shares a love with her home base, proven in the song about the lifeline of their neighborhood, “Trinity Lane.” She had a funny song about a super religious beau she dropped, “Jesus Would’ve Let Me Pick the Restaurant,” and a strong tribute, “The Night David Bowie Died.”

LILLY HIATT

MARGO PRICE SETLIST
Don’t Say It
Do Right By Me
Tennessee Song
One’s on the Way
A Little Pain
Four Years of Chances
All American Made
Pick ’N Save
Revelations
Hands of Time
Leftovers
Cocaine Cowboys
Long Live the King
This Town Gets Around
Paper Cowboy
Things Have Changed
9 to 5

LILLY HIATT SETLIST
All Kinds of People
Get This Right
See Ya Later
Trinity Lane
I Wanna Go Home
Everything I Had
Imposter
Young Black Rose
Jesus Would’ve Let Me Pick the Restaurant
Records

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