By Bryan Houston
Here’s Bryan Houston’s interview with songwriter and country singer Kacey Musgraves , a native of East Texas. She signed a recording deal with Mercury Records in 2012, which issued a first single, the wise, taut and very impressive Merry Go ‘Round, later that same year. In March 2013, her first album for Mercury, Same Trailer Different Park, was released and Musgraves was nominated for three Academy of Country Music Awards, including Female Vocalist of the Year.
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Here’s more on Kacey Musgraves from her website, kaceymusgraves.com:
After listening to Same Trailer Different Park, the Nashville-based singer-songwriter’s first album for Mercury Records, it’s clear that this is a girl who has something to say. A true language artist, Kacey nimbly spins webs of words to create the quirky puns, shrewd metaphors, and steely ironies that fill the record.
The fact that she executes these lingual exercises in a clear, unaffected voice makes the ride all the more fun.
“I love words,” Kacey says. “I love how intricate they can get. Even in simple conversation, I like it when language is colorful.” This appreciation for wordplay shines in songs like “Silver Lining,” a sunnyside-up ode to positive thinking packed full of commonplace idioms that she’s given clever tweaks . Take the bridge, for example: If you wanna find the honey/You can’t be scared of the bees/If you want to see the forest/You’re gonna have to look past the trees. “When
I was in school, one of my favorite subjects was always creative writing,” she admits. Of course it was.
It’s worth noting that at age 24, school isn’t that distant of a memory for Kacey. You’d never know that from her lyrics, though, which are wise beyond her years and read as if they were written by someone who has seen dozens more birthdays – and nursed at least that many broken hearts. Take the opening lines of “Stupid,” in which she personifies love as an exhausting masochist: Plays you like a fiddle/Shakes you like a rattle/Takes away your gun/And sends you into battle.
Love isn’t the only subject matter in Kacey Musgrave’s songwriting repertoire: she’s a whiz at working pop culture references into her lyrics. On the album, recollections of kitchsy conversations between smack-talking Waffle House third-shifters (“Blowin’ Smoke”) bump up against campy communiqués from cross-country road trips in the family trailer (“My House”). It’s a testament to Kacey’s natural songwriting ability that these songs sound clever instead of cutesy. In fact, she can get downright bawdy when the situation calls for it.
On “Follow Your Arrow,” she points out the hypocrisies that society imposes on even the most conservative among us (If you save yourself for marriage you’re a bore/If you don’t save yourself for marriage you’re a horr…ible person) which she balances with a chorus that preaches throwing caution and propriety to the wind: (Make lots of noise/Kiss lots of boys/Or kiss lots of girls if that’s something your into/When the straight and narrow gets a little too straight/Roll up a joint/Or don’t/Follow your arrow wherever it points.) Her message is clear: Be yourself and be happy.
Kacey Musgraves grew up in Golden, Texas, a town of 600 about 80 miles east of Dallas that Kacey admits is “kind of out in the middle of nowhere.” She grew up in a household that was creative, though not necessarily musical. Kacey’s mother is a visual artist; together, her parents run a print shop in nearby Mineola – “a little mom-and-pop Kinko’s kind of thing.”