Margo Price

Margo Price just got $25,000 richer. She’s been announced the 2017 winner of the American Music Prize, an honor that recognizes last year’s best debut album.

The Gibson-loving singer songwriter was surprised by the news when given to her by her label Third Man in Nashville; she was told that she needed to be at the label for a business meeting.

“I’m really speechless right now. I wasn’t expecting this at all, and that’s maybe what makes it so sweet,” Price said. “I kept asking, ‘Am I in trouble? Do you think I did something wrong?’ [My husband’s] like, ‘No, it’s fine. We’re going to go get a nice dinner.’ He even told me to change my dress, that it wasn’t nice enough!”

Price’s Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, released in March of 2016, beat out about 250 other debut albums to win the 2017 American Music Prize, which “aims to encourage, discover, reward and promote new music of excellence by USA artists,” according to the Prize’s official website. Twelve finalists, from all different genres, were shortlisted.

She’s worked hard for her success so far. Before her Third Man Records deal, Price sold her car and pawned her wedding ring to help pay to record Midwest Farmer’s Daughter at Memphis’s legendary Sun Studio. After recording the album, Price shopped the project around in Nashville but found no takers... until connecting with Jack White‘s Third Man Records. She is now the label’s lone country artist.

She’s a good bet for wider success, too. Her great-uncle is country songwriter Bobby Fischer, who has penned tracks for everyone from Conway Twitty to Reba McEntire. Today she counts one of his guitars, a 1956 Gibson dreadnought he played while hitchhiking his way across the country, among her prized possessions.

Photos: Angelina Castillo and Third Man Records