Kacey Musgraves crafts unique songs through storytelling

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Country singer Kacey Musgraves made her “Saturday Night Live” debut recently. In just two songs, the performer shook up some people’s perception of country music. Her fashion sense, her approach to performance, and the poignant rendering of detail in her songs made Musgraves a performer to watch, and ultimately learn more about.

Kacey Musgraves and “Saturday Night Live”

Lately, it seems that the country’s oldest sketch comedy show is featuring musical acts that are actually interesting to the music-loving public. With Childish Gambino one week, and Musgraves another, people might start watching the show for the music. Or not. Nevertheless, Musgraves’ performance was engaging. According to CMT.com, “Musgraves shines on her ‘SNL’ debut.” The description is apt.

While clothes are not the most important aspect of a performer, when she appears on television, the outfits are difficult to miss. Musgraves’ style is sometimes classy, modern, and other times, still classy, but with a laid-back, 1970’s flair. Her overall vibe might remind some viewers of a young Cher. Her sound is country with a splash of pop, and a slight hint of swagger that could come from either hip-hop or simply from having lived the words of her songs.

Musgraves’ sets were fun, and her sound a bit better than that of some acts. She performed “High Horse” and “Slow Burn.”

“Slow Burn” by Kacey Musgraves

The language is beautiful in “Slow Burn.” From the first line, Musgraves sets listeners up for the contradictions to come. Given Musgraves’ age, it doesn’t take listeners long to know that the song is autobiographical when she sings, “Born in a hurry/always late/haven’t been early since ’88.”

The almost 30 year-old singer presents the contradictions without pretense or without changing her tone to let audiences know that she is being clever. Maybe this doesn’t count as being clever; this is just how Musgraves is. There is nothing contrived about the singer, and that is what is likable about her.

As relayed in “Slow Burn,” Musgraves’ is a modern girl’s story. “Texas is hot/I can be cold/Grandma cried when I pierced my nose.”

The Golden, Texas native doesn’t leave out romance. “Slow Burn” also refers to her approach to passionate encounters. The song is being sung to “you,” so this isn’t a story for everyone. It is a story for a special someone. Someone who needs to know that in addition to all the other things Musgraves sings about, she is “Good in a glass/ good on green/good when you’re putting your hands all over me.”

The language is intimate, but she has let the audience in. There is something of the confessional set to jangly guitar. Musgraves’ voice is soothing, but confident. Her register is higher than some might expect, but it works.

A bit about Kacey Musgraves

Some audiences will remember that Musgraves was on the singing competition show, “Nashville Star” that aired on USA Network. The year was 2007, and Musgraves came in seventh place.

Musgraves’ appearance on “Saturday Night Live” might prompt some audience members to look for other recordings by the singer. Her latest album is “Golden Hour,” which seems as though it can refer to both Musgraves’ time of life and her hometown. Previously, she released “Same Trailer Different Park” in 2013, and “Pageant Material” in 2015. In addition, her Christmas album, “A Very Kacey Christmas” was released in October 2016, finds the singer having fun with holiday pop classics. Her version of “I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas” is particularly charming.

Musgraves is one of the more interesting new singers of any genre. The hope for her is that she continues to be original. Contemporary music can always use effective storytellers. Since its release in March 2018, “Golden Hour” has racked up a number of positive reviews. Musgraves’ career definitely seems “golden.”

 

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