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Artist Spotlight: Kacey Musgraves

Mar 27, 2021

Dan Rotella - Episode 004

For this weeks artist spotlight, I’m going a little bit country.

I’ll be honest, I’m kind of picky with the country I listen to as it tends to be based on the nostalgia of my childhood. My mother listened to a lot of country so I heard it around the house quite often. We also watched He-Haw as a family—a country music comedy sketch show back in the 80s. The country music I was familiar with as a kid was from artists like Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Rita McNeil, Loretta Lynn, and Willie Nelson. 

When I first heard Kacey Musgraves perform Follow Your Arrow at the 2014 Grammy Awards, it kind of reminded me of that classic country style from my childhood. It wasn’t just the style of her music that I appreciated, it was her lyrics that captured me. 

Kacey was born August 21, 1988 in Golden Texas and started writing her own songs by the age of 8. She self-released three solo albums and appeared on the singing competition Nashville star before being signed to Mercury Nashville in 2012.Her fist major record release Same Trailer Different Park, was released in 2013. It won the Grammy Award for Best Country Album and featured the singles, “Merry Go Round”—my favourite—and “Follow Your Arrow”.

As I mentioned, her performance of “Follow Your Arrow” on the Grammys was the first time I heard her music and it was the lyrics that really caught my attention. They were clever, smart, witty, direct and a little bit sassy. This song was a bit controversial and when she performed it on the American Country Music Awards, they made her censor some lines and change the lyrics. But on the Grammy’s, she sang the song as it was. Essentially she’s speaking to being yourself without be ashamed of who you are. A lot of her song lyrics are similar, pointing to real life scenarios and delivered with combination of sass and wit. She’s a no nonsense type of girl and I think that’s why I’m drawn to her music.

I was lucky enough to see her at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto a few years back. She was an amazing live singer, almost to the point where I thought she was using a vocal track, but then she started changing up some of the lyrics or the arrangement a bit that made me realize that she was just that good.

In total, she has 4 studio album releases:

  • Same Trailer Different Park – 2013
  • Pageant Material – 2015
  • A very Kacey Christmas – 2016 
  • And Golden Hour – 2018
    This album not only won Best Country Album at the Grammy’s, but she also picked up the awards for Album of the Year, Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song.

While researching for this segment, I came across a performance of Kacey covering Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know”. It was slowed down and stripped back with a piano, banjo and cello. It was breathtaking…it literally gave me goosebumps.

And lastly, to bring her career full circle, Kacey’s first live performance was at 9 years old singing “The Rainbow Connection”, a song by Kermit the Frog from the Muppet Movie. The song was covered by many artists over the year and another popular version was by Willie Nelson. In 2019, at the Country Music Association awards, Kacey got to fulfill one of her lifetime dreams and performed The Rainbow Connection with Willie Nelson.

That’s about it for this weeks artist spotlight. I know country isn’t for everyone, but I hope this spotlight helped encourage some of you to check out Kacey’s music.