2015 CD REVIEW
PAGEANT MATERIAL (MERCURY-UNIVERSAL)
KACEY MUSGRAVES RIDES SHOTGUN WITH WILLIE
“I've had my picture made with Willie Nelson/ stayed in a hotel with a pool/ driven through New Mexico where the saguaro cactus grow/ and I felt really small under Mount Rushmore/ and I made it all the way past Austin city limits/ and maybe for a minute, I got too big for my britches/ but I'm just a dime store cowgirl/ that's all I'm ever gonna be/ you can take me out of the country/ but you can't take the country out of me/ no cause I'm still the girl from Golden/ had to get away so I could grow/ but it don't matter where I'm goin'/ I still still call my hometown home.” - Dime Store Cowgirl - Kacey Musgraves - Luke Laird-Shane McAnally.
Texan troubadour Kacey Musgraves has blazed a trend defying trail, just like octogenarian recording and touring mentor Shotgun Willie Nelson.
And on the Grammy winner's second major label album, Pageant Material , after three indie discs, she name checks old Willie, 82, and honours him by revamping historic Nelson song Are You Sure as her hidden track.
They were on the Red Headed Stranger's tour bus Honeysuckle Rose when Musgraves asked him why he never plays the song live these days - the question surprised Nelson.
“He couldn't believe I knew it,” Musgraves, 27, revealed on the eve of her album release.
“I just really loved it. It's very honest and very country, and it's a neat perspective. He seemingly pulled a guitar out of a cloud of smoke and started strumming. I was of course dying inside a little bit.”
The two Texans recorded the song together with Nelson using his iconic guitar Trigger to play the tune.
“It was meant to be a hidden track at the end,” Musgraves says.
“A little nugget for people who make it to the end of the record.
Nelson has been one of Musgraves biggest supporters, and, prior to hitting the studio with the Biscuits singer, the country legend said that he was looking forward to recording the track with her.
“This is the one she wanted to do,” he said at the time.
“It's one of those obscure songs of mine that I wrote many years ago in Nashville . I'd love to record with her. She's a great artist.”
Pageant Material sold 60,000 units in its first week - her Mercury debut, Same Trailer Different Park, started at #2 with 43,000 units sold in 2013.
BISCUITS – HOMEGROWN
"So hoe your own row and raise your own babies/ smoke your own smoke and grow your own daisies/ mend your own fences and own your own crazy/ mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy.” - Biscuits - Kacey Musgraves-Shane McAnally-Brandy Clark.
Musgraves returns to Nu Country TV on September 5 with her video for Biscuits and mini-docco on the show hosted by Beer Can Hill delta chef Mid Pacific Bob Olson.
It's a high energy, humorous self-parody where Kacey retro-fits the genre, name-checking vintage variety shows to bring fans a quirky, brightly colored video.
Musgraves said she wanted it look like “ Hee Haw meets Pee Wee's Playhouse meets Wes Anderson.”
It features a few special scenes including a mustachioed Musgraves dressed as a farmer and some time spent singing with Cledus Guthrie, a fiddle-playing Muppet.
“The video is just plum country fun,” Musgraves says.
Her label originally asked her to change the line “P**sing in my yard ain't gonna make yours any greener” in Biscuits to “spitting in my yard' but the singer held her ground.
“I'm like, ‘Sorry, no.' People are so worried about offending that they water down everything,” she says.
“Come to a show, and that's the line everyone loves. Don't take that away from me!”
Musgraves presents slightly left-leaning values as matters of common sense.
“Pouring salt in my sugar won't make yours any sweeter,” she scolds on Biscuits in language reflects small town living.
Kacey incites listeners to do their own thing and not worry about precious ponces.
“I've come to conclusion that people are always going to find a way to be offended about something, and it's almost like they want to be. I won't be everybody's cup of tea,” Musgraves explained.
“I've found peace in that. I really wanted this album to have a classic feel, like a lot of the records I know and love. I intended on it having a laid-back yet lush, slightly kitschy, western vibe. And most of all, I wanted it to feel like me.”
Musgraves helped industry members get into the pageant spirit for her album release at PLAY in Nashville, where she handed out tiaras and sashes to partygoers, and drag queens lip synched songs from Pageant Material on a runway
Kacey, who played CMC Rocks Queensland at Ipswich in March, began her international tour - The Kacey Musgraves Country & Western Rhinestone Revue , in Atlanta on August 27 and ends in Amsterdam on November 22.
The singer, who also toured with Katie Perry, includes infectious High Time and the ballad Somebody to Love among her 13 tracks - penned with Brandy Clark, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne.
She also co-produced the album with McAnally and Laird.
FAMILY IS FAMILY
“Family is family, in church or in prison / you get what you get, and you don't get to pick ‘em / they might smoke like chimneys but give you their kidneys / yeah, friends come in handy, but family is family.” - Family Is Family - Kacey Musgraves- Shane McAnally-Josh Osborne.
“Records that set an even tone throughout are ones that I usually gravitate towards. So recording this record was really fun and exciting for me because I knew exactly what I wanted to go for. Consistently touring and playing with my great band has made me a better singer and player and has helped me define my vision. So there was less guesswork this time around.”
Kacey chooses to live in a universe where double entendre still seem salacious but is inspired by country music from an era when those approaches were the only way to sneak in a message.
Many of her songs double as extended metaphors about her brittle relationship with the country music industry.
Musgraves grew up in Golden - a sweet-potato-growing country town of about 600 people due east of Dallas .
That's 20 miles northwest of Lindale - hometown of Miranda Lambert with whom she wrote Lambert hit Mama's Broken Heart.
But, like Miranda and her Pistol Annies pals Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley, she digs deep into the psyche of her genre and its characters.
Being a country music female savior is a tough gig with notable exceptions - multi-media minstrels Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn and Mary Chapin Carpenter.
It also has a high turnover rate.
Check out predecessors Lacy J Dalton, Gus Hardin, Bobbie Cryner, Ashton Shepherd, Marshall Chapman, Kelly Willis, Patty Loveless, Kacey Jones and fellow Texan survivor Lee Ann Womack.
CUP OF TEXAS TEA
“Maybe you slept with half of your hometown/ maybe you married the wrong person first/ maybe your hair's way too long/ in a world of squares, maybe you're just round/ your sister's in jail or maybe you failed/ out of college, but hey, life goes on/ we've all got the right to be wrong.” - Cup Of Tea - Kacey Musgraves- Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne.
It was a big step for country when Musgraves and co-writers Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally, both openly gay, won the CMA Song of the Year award for Follow Your Arrow.
Musgraves recognizes the impact of that achievement.
“Even if I was just sitting on my couch as a bystander, that moment would give me hope for new ideas, for country still being about real life - which is what it's supposed to be about,” she says.
Musgraves says her third major label album will head in a different direction.
“The next one will be completely different,” Musgraves revealed.
“Because I don't think this one is very far off from Different Trailer . I would really like to write to a concept next time. I'd really like to do a reggae record or a surf-rock record.”
NO GOOD OLD BOYS CLUB FOR KACEY
“Don't wanna be a part of the good ol' boys club/ cigars and handshakes, appreciate you but no thanks/ another gear in a big machine don't sound like fun to me/ don't wanna be a part of the good ol' boys club/ I don't wanna be a part of your good ol' boys club.” - Good Ol Boys Club - Kacey Musgraves-Luke Laird-Natalie Hemby.
In Good Ol' Boys Club , she parodies the male-run music industry, saying, "another gear in a big machine don't sound like fun to me."
In that song she takes a barely veiled shot at Big Machine , Taylor Swift's label.
“I like Taylor 's new album, 1989,” Kacey revealed.
“It's really fun to listen to when you're working out. I think it's great that she's doing what she wants on her own terms. But she's way more exposed than I'd ever want to be. That's not a slight to her. I like my life the way it is.”
Kacey has no problems with males peers in the music industry.
“I've always been pretty even-keeled, but I've had really good people around me,” she said.
“I've had my boyfriend Misa Arriaga on the road with me for a couple of years because he's in our band. I think the craziest thing we do is venture out and find a Thai place on Yelp that we've never been to. We might jam a little bit and have some wine.”
It's no secret Musgraves is different than other country hit-makers.
She's consistently referred to as county's rebel and received resistance since the start of her career when she released debut single, Merry Go Round .
“I was advised it's not something that a new artist should say,” revealed Musgraves who doesn't view her songs as particularly progressive.
She believes the subject matter she covers is representative of the way society is moving, and even if country music may be a little behind the curve, she's not afraid to talk about what she believes.
“People always like to pull these handfuls of talking points that I have in my songs and call those out and really focus on those, but to me, these things aren't very progressive issues. I just, I chuckle a little inside when that happens,” Kacey added.
“People say, ‘she's so progressive,' or, ‘she's a rebel,' or whatever and I think it's cool because it's just, it is the way the world is moving, the human race is moving. Look at the laws that are happening. You know, all these things that people are pulling out of my songs won't be that crazy anymore in the future and the truth is that the songs are just about life.”
PRICELESS PARODY PAGEANT MATERIAL
“I ain't pageant material/ the only crown is in my glass/ they won't be handin' me a sash/ and that's okay, cause there's no way/ you'll ever see me in a swimsuit on a stage / I ain't exactly Ms. Congenial/ sometimes I talk before I think, I try to fake it but I can't/ I'd rather lose for what I am than win for what I ain't/ yeah I'd rather lose for what I am than win for what I ain't.” - Pageant Material - Kacey Musgraves-Luke Laird-Shane McAnally.
The boots are one sale at Lucchese stores in Houston , San Antonio , Santa Fe and Nashville and online.