By Bob Doerschuk
© 2013 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.
One strength of country music is its ability to mirror real life. Rarer is the artist whose stories come to us not washed in neon but raised from a deeper, dreamier place.
Kacey Musgraves is one such anomaly. Born in Mineola, Texas, she made her performing debut at 8. A year later, she wrote her first song. She appeared on Nashville Star in 2007 and moved to Nashville shortly after that, just 20 years old.
As a writer, she’s made a good start, placing songs with Miranda Lambert (“Mama’s Broken Heart”) and Martina McBride (“When You Love a Sinner”). A co-write with Trent Dabbs, “Undermine,” played on the second episode of ABC’s Nashville.
With her March 19 debut on Mercury Nashville, produced by Musgraves, Shane McAnally and Luke Laird, she’s about to make her own big impact — in a distinctively quiet way. Musgraves doesn’t crank up the volume. Her grooves move gently, more like the trickle of a brook than a wide river’s roar. Banjo adds to the country flavor of her work, but it’s played sparely, more about atmosphere than momentum. She frames it with an electric guitar’s faraway weep and floats wispy electronic clouds above this pastoral soundscape.
That’s only the beginning. Her writing style is fully formed, with each track either a solo or co-written piece. On her first single, “Merry Go ‘Round” (Musgraves, McAnally and Josh Osborne), she spins her tale of family dysfunction with equal parts irony and insight, weary wisdom and sad humor. She won a standing ovation when she introduced it at CRS 2012 — the first, surely, of many to come.
IN HER OWN WORDS
DREAM DUET PARTNER
WORDS YOU SAY OVER AND OVER AGAIN
“‘It Is What It Is’ and ‘Dude.’”
“People who try to sound way more country than they are.”
ACTRESS TO PORTRAY YOU IN A BIOPIC
BOOK ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND
“Steve Earle’s I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive.”
ITEMS IN YOUR PERSONAL TIME CAPSULE
“My favorite old, turquoise cowboy boots, my 1957 Gibson J-45 (Janice) and the complete discography of John Prine.”
SOMETHING WE’D NEVER GUESS ABOUT YOU
“I wish I was a Bollywood star.”
On the Web: www.KaceyMusgraves.com
On Twitter: @KaceyMusgraves