Margo Price Ponders the Afterlife on Cover of Leon Russell’s ‘Stranger In a Strange Land’

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Songs for Leon

Country singer contributed to the new Russell tribute album, A Song for Leon, along with Orville Peck, Pixies, U.S. Girls, and more

Margo Price is leading off a new all-star tribute album to Leon Russell, A Song for Leon, with her take on the great singer-songwriter’s 1971 tune, “Stranger in a Strange Land.” 

Price’s rendition of the Leon Russell and the Shelter People opener is rich and booming, a glorious country rocker that feels at once distinct from, and lovingly faithful to, the original. In a statement, Price described “Stranger in a Strange Land” as a “prolific” song and noted that, since recording the cover, it’s become a staple at her live shows. 

“The monologue in the middle is my favorite,” Price said. “It still seems absolutely pertinent and its subject still matters today. He’s talking about the afterlife and equality and goes off about starting a new race where we all just learn to love each other. We can all learn a thing of two from Leon Russell.”

Along with Price, A Song for Leon will feature contributions from Orville Peck, Pixies, Nathaniel Ratliff and the Night Sweats, Hiss Golden Messenger, Monica Martin, and Durand Jones and the Indications. Russell’s daughter Tina Rose will also appear on the album, partnering with Jason Hill and Amy Nelson (Willie Nelson’s daughter) for a rendition of “Laying Right Here in Heaven.”

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A Song for Leon will feature a couple of other unique collaborations, too. Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie will link up with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band for a take on “Back to the Island.” And U.S. Girls will team with funk great Bootsy Collins for a rendition of “Superstar,” the Carpenters classic Russell co-wrote with Bonnie Bramlett.

A Song for Leon is set to arrive on Sept. 8 via Primary Wave Music/Secretly Distribution. 

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