Kacey Musgraves: Far From “Country Bumpkin”

By Phoebe Myers

On October 24th, country sensation Kacey Musgraves stood in front of her audience.

“Apparently I’m the only country act to headline the Apollo,” she said. “Sold it out, too.”

The Apollo Theater in New York City is famed for hosting acts such as Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, and Duke Ellington. Country is a bit of a separation from its usual clientele, and the fact that its first country performer was Musgraves is notable.

Kacey Musgraves onstage at the Apollo Theater

Musgraves is a bit of an oddity in the country scene. When her first album Same Trailer Different Park debuted in 2013, she reached new listeners by having a few songs with political or social positions not usually found in country music.

One of the lyrics in her popular song “Follow Your Arrow” reads Make lots of noise, Kiss lots of boys, Or kiss lots of girls, If that’s something you’re into. Not exactly a sentiment associated with the usually conservative fans of country music.

Yet Musgraves still has much of the aesthetic that country music  for the past 50 years,

Yet, the country music aesthetic that has reigned the last 50 years is still strongly prevalent in Musgraves’ style; in fact, her music sounds more traditionally country than other big stars like Blake Shelton. Her new album, Pageant Material, is full of twangy ballads not lacking in old country proverbs. Phrases like “Mind your own biscuits”, “Family is family”, and “Good Ol’ Boys Club” are just a few examples.

Her visuals also stay true to country, like this          cactus set at the 2013 Grammys

While most of her songs are relatively tame and sweet, she clearly has the chops for angrier, harder hitting songs. She co-wrote Miranda Lambert’s hit single “Mama’s Broken Heart”, which has a lot of bite. If you haven’t listened to it, you should. It’s a great post break-up anger song, that also pokes fun at the social expectations put on women, especially in the South.

So even if you think you don’t like country, check Musgraves out. She has a little something for everyone.

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