Margo Price recorded "That's How Rumors Get Started" in Los Angeles, and it doesn't take long to pick up on a distinct El Lay sound driving this 10-song collection. The opener (and title track) finds Price sounding a lot like "Rumors" era Fleetwood Mac - specifically vocally echoing Stevie Nicks. Four songs in, with "Stone Me," Benmont Tench (of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers, one of Nicks' favorite bands) adds piano. "That's How Rumors Get Started," musically, may be a throwback, but it's not the throwback to the sound of Price's previous albums. The thumping soul-rock of "Twinkle Twinkle" serves notice that we aren't on the traditional country music side of Nashville any longer. This song, in particular, sounds closer to Jack White's rocking Nashville, instead.
The most egregious sonic sin, though, is "Heartless Mind," which is driven by Mike Rojas' New Wave rock keyboard riff. There's nothing at all wrong with Price stretching her stylistic muscles, but did she really need to reach all the way back to Patty Smyth and Scandal? If you're jones-ing for something country-sounding, you're just not going to find any such a thing here. With that said, though, the album is not without its merits. "Prisoner of the Highway" is an enjoyable and truthful gospel-accented road life song.
Overall, "That's How Rumors Get Started" is more notable for its stylistic explorations, than for any memorable songs. Price may have been aiming for the heart, but she rarely hits that mark, barely getting below the emotional surface. Someone please start a rumor that Margo Price's next album will include a 180 turn back to more recognizably country music, complete with heartfelt songs.