Farm Aid Board member Margo Price has published a memoir, Maybe We’ll Make It, which hit bookstores this past Monday! Maybe We’ll Make It shares the story of Margo’s struggles to make it as a country music artist—and as a human—faced with heartbreaking loss and adversity.
Growing up in a small town in Illinois (Aledo, population 3,600), Margo’s dreams were as big as the sky on her family’s farm, which was lost in 1986, near the height of the Farm Crisis that spurred the creation of Farm Aid. She describes the loss of the farm as “still a sore subject in my family that hardly anyone will talk about.” She says the loss was “devastating. No one was ever the same after that.” Her grandparents had to sell their farmhouse and move “into a tiny ranch-style on the edge of town. From their kitchen window you could see perfect rows of corn in fields that belonged to someone else. I sometimes caught Grandpa Paul gazing out that window with a faraway look in his eyes.” Her own parents also suffered the loss hard. Margo’s dad had always expected to take over the family farm as the next generation and now he had to find a new career.
Her family history in agriculture—and the way they lost the farm, like so many other farm families during this tumultuous time—is one reason that Margo is so passionate about Farm Aid. But the rest of her story has connections as well, from her love of songwriting that has the power to ignite social and political movements, to her embrace of country living and the outdoors, and her understanding of what is to work hard for a dream that others deem impossible. The empathy Margo expresses in her songwriting and in the ways that she stands up for people is reflective of the upbringing she had and the challenges she went through to make it in the music industry. This woman knows what it is to struggle. As she puts it, “Growing up in a town as small as Aledo was a recipe for trouble. Poverty and boredom plagued Mercer County, and drugs like alcohol and meth ate up the rural Midwest. Alcohol abuse affected me personally as a child growing up… I drank my first beer at the age of twelve.”
But through it all there was music. As a self-taught artist, it was the pursuit of music that finally caught Margo’s attention and had her chasing big dreams that would lead her out of Illinois to Nashville and on to eventual and hard-earned success. If you want to know more about what drives Margo Price to write the heart-achingly personal songs she writes and sings and the ways she’s been shaped by her experience, we encourage you to read Maybe We’ll Make It.