Is Kacey Musgraves Too Country for Country Music?
Kacey Musgraves is one of the most critically acclaimed young singer-songwriters in country music, but ironically, she says her upcoming album doesn't really fit into the genre.
As the follow-up to her Grammy-winning major label debut, Same Trailer, Different Park, Musgraves' second album, Pageant Material, is one of the most anticipated country releases of the year. The new songs continue in the vein of the previous album, blending Musgraves' wryly observational songwriting with rootsy instrumentation for a sound that's uniquely her own. Though she's enjoyed strong album sales, Musgraves has so far only scored one genuine radio hit with "Merry Go 'Round," with subsequent singles falling short. She's not sure where she falls in the spectrum of country radio.
“There was this cycle in Nashville where if you were a girl, you had to be really sassy: ‘You cheated on me, so I’m going to burn your house down,’” she tells the Fader. “I’ve never felt a kinship to those kinds of songs. I love John Prine, his witty turns of phrase. I love Glen Campbell, Marty Robbins, Loretta Lynn. There was this really imaginative and whimsical period of country music where instead of trying to match a trend, people became popular because they were unique. There wasn’t a basket of four subject matters. The more country that my music gets, the less it fits into the country world today. It’s almost like there needs to be two genres, modern country and… country?”
The title song of her new album was inspired by a now-infamous incident in which Musgraves was caught on camera with an unhappy look on her face while losing Female Vocalist of the Year to Miranda Lambert at the 2013 CMA Awards. The song is about being judged by narrow margins.
“Especially for women, you need a certain face at award shows when you lose or you’re an a--hole,” she says. “You can’t have a potty mouth or an opinion. In the South, getting judged on superficial stuff is a real thing. And I’m not attacking the people that might get something positive out of pageantry; I’m just not into being judged in that way. I’d rather lose for what I am than win for something that I’m not.”
Pageant Material is set for release on June 23. It is currently available for pre-order.
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