KACEY MUSGRAVES: Are You Sure Loretta Done It That Way?

“Make lots of noise/Kiss lots of boys/Or kiss lots of girls/ If that’s something you’re into/When the straight and narrow/Gets a little too straight/Roll up a joint, or don’t/Just follow your arrow” , Kacey Musgraves sings on her Grammy award winning CD Same Trailer Different Park.

Kacey - CD cover

Wooo – eeee! Are you sure Loretta done it this way?

You may not be able to identify her voice in a crowded shopping mall but her vocals are exactly suited to the lyric she writes.

And what lyrics they are! 

“Mama’s hooked on Mary Kay/Brother’s hooked on Mary Jane/Daddy’s hooked on Mary two doors down/Mary, Mary quite contrary/We get bored, so, we get married/Just like dust, we settle in this town, ” she sings on “Merry-Go-Round”,a catchy tune about the soul-destroying sameness of life in a small town. (If they ever decide to do a remake of Blue Velvet set in a small Southern burg this has gotta be on the soundtrack.) 

Kacey = Heartland

Sure, she retains her heartland values (she thanks her family in the liner notes, her sister, Kelly Christine Musgraves, is credited with taking the photos on her CD. She poses with country and western vet Willie Nelson in the photo below) but this Stand By Your Man stuff only goes so far. 

“If you think that you still love me/Put it on a shelf/If you’re lookin’ for someone/Make it someone else/When you’re drunk/And it’s late/And you’re missing me like hell/Keep it to yourself,” she sings on “Keep It to Yourself”.

And in the aptly named “Step Off”, she warns, “Keep running your mouth and stretching the truth/ You just might find a hole in your parachute/’Cause whatever gets you high/Will always bring you down.

Kacry - Willie

Obviously, this is a young woman steeped in the traditions of country music while keenly aware of the harsh realities of the modern world. 

Media types have tried their level best to whip up a feud between Kacey Musgraves  and Taylor Swift. Perhaps because they are both precocious, whipsmart young women in a genre overrun with party-hearty drugstore cowboys.

” I do think people like Taylor Swift have opened our genre up to people who wouldn’t necessarily ever listen to country, and it’s made it in a sense more cool,” Ms. Musgraves is quoted as saying on a website called savingcountrymusic.com in an April 2013 feature.  

Nevertheless, some websites and radio stations have taken to calling the attractive Texas twentysomething “the new Taylor Swift”, especially after Ms. Musgraves bested her fellow nominees in a couple of key country Grammy categories. (“Kacey tied Taylor and Lorde for the most nominations received by a woman in 2014, and she totally stunned us when she won the two biggest country awards of the night! Same Trailer Different Park earned the Country Album of the Year album, while its hit single ”Merry Go ‘Round” won Best Country Song. Pretty impressive for a relative unknown, no? ” – 99.6 The Bull.com)

Kacey- KC & Taylor

Of course, it’s hard to imagine Ms. Swift writing a cheery ode to mobile home life, which Ms. Musgraves does in “My House”, let alone putting a romantic spin on it (“So come on hitch your wagon/To the living room I’m draggin’/ If I can’t bring you to my house’/I’ll bring my house to you.”)

In “Blowin’ Smoke” she shows a novelist’s eye for detail in an instantly hummable tribute to her favorite working class heroines – the hard-workin’ waitresses at the local diner. (“Well Janie got divorced again/Her ex-husband’s in the pen/ From two to five, five to ten and longer/Brenda’s traded smokes for cake/Still hadn’t lost that baby weight/And that baby’s about to graduate/From college.”)

Throughout it all she remains a literate spokesperson for  young people from all walks of life. In the CD’s last track “It Is What It Is”, Ms. Musgraves assures young women (and young men, too, for that matter) that she is still trying to figure things out herself. (“But I ain’t got no one sleepin with me / And you ain’t got no where that you need to be/ Maybe I love you/ Maybe I’m just kind of bored.”)

Whatever. It’ll be fun ridin’ with her as she figures life out (no matter what age you are.) 

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