Concert preview: Fast-rising country singer Kacey Musgraves casts a wide net

By Andy Downing
From the June 27, 2013 edition

On Kacey Musgraves' breakout single “Merry Go 'Round,” the fast-rising country star details how difficult it can be to shake free of the life one has always known.

“We get bored so we get married,” she sings. “Just like dust we settle in this town.”

Growing up in Golden, a small town 80 miles east of Dallas in the heart of Texas sweet potato country, however, Musgraves never doubted fate would one day lead her to bigger things.

“There was no question in my mind I'd get to see what was out there,” said the 24-year-old singer, who joins Kenny Chesney and Eric Church for a concert at Crew Stadium on Saturday. “No matter how great any town is, you have to see what's on the other side. You have to get a different perspective.”

Fittingly, Musgraves spends much of her fourth full-length studio album, the excellent Same Trailer, Different Parkchallenging listeners' perceptions of what country music can be. Witness “Follow Your Arrow,” a triumphant, be-who-you-are anthem with lyrics better suited to Pride parades (“Make lots of noise/Kiss lots of boys/Or kiss lots of girls/If that's something you're into”) than the traditionally conservative world of country radio.

“I'm aware it's not everybody's cup of tea, but that's OK,” Musgraves said. “If I have stronger fans in lower numbers, that's still an amazing place to be. I don't want to be of the moment and then gone.”

The singer-songwriter's obvious talents and unflappable self-confidence (“I never even gave the people working with me the option to tell me what I could or couldn't do,” she said) have garnered her fans everywhere from the pop mainstream (Katy Perry is a vocal supporter) to the most button-up corners of the country world. She's even performed at Nashville's legendary Ryman Auditorium, the former home of the Grand Ole Opry — twice.

“I feel like country music has wrapped its arms around me and welcomed me and been very supportive,” Musgraves said. “I'm a country singer—it's what I know and lovebut I'm also inspired by a huge range of other things.

“I just want to make music across the board, so when people outside the format get into it, it makes me happy. It makes me feel like I'm doing something right.”