Blowin’ Smoke – Kacey Musgraves

ACKKKKKK!!! I’M WRITING ABOUT COUNTRY. HELL FROZE OVER!!

Okay, now that that’s out of my system, let’s break it down.

I really hate most modern Country. Like most other genres, a lot of it is watered down and standard. But also like other genres, there’s standouts. And I truly believe that Kacey Musgraves is one of them.

My mom’s been a lifelong waitress and when I heard this song, it spoke to both her life and the lives of all of the people I grew up with in Indiana.

To me, that’s the true mark of any good music: it speaks to something that’s so undeniably relatable and/or truthful that you feel like you’ve been the inspiration for the song.

Especially genres like Country and Rap, which you wouldn’t think would go together. They both speak to shared experiences and the desire to “clue in” outsiders on a culture and way of living. Current Country and Rap are often watered down. Rap centers on “bitches and money,” and Country focuses on “dirt roads and pickup trucks.” Fuck that. There’s so much truth still to be told if artists would just zoom in their lens a little closer. And in this case, Musgraves does that a lot.

Musgraves is best-known for her song “Follow Your Arrow,” and won 2 Grammy’s in 2014, one for her album Same Trailer Different Park, and one for her song “Merry Go ‘Round.”

Critics are touting her as someone that’s subversive and controversial, but Musgraves has been quoted as saying that she doesn’t think she’s controversial – she just speaks to reality and the issues that modern people face. Musgraves comes from a musical background and knows just how to craft a perfectly catchy and impactful song. She been on the stage since about 12, and wrote her first song at the age of 8. She might offend some with her short skirts, tall hair and tongue-in-cheek lyrics, but for many, her fearlessness is appreciated.

While she’s not alone on her bawdiness, it’s still refreshing. Sure, there’s been the Dixie Chicks, Miranda Lambert and Gretchen Wilson, but Musgraves still has her own brand. It’s less “fuck you,” and more, “get over it.” She doesn’t address the haters or brag about the “Country” lifestyle. She just lives it, and sings it. And you’re welcome to join her. Or not.

Musgraves takes the stage with Loretta Lynn at the 2014 CMA's.

Musgraves takes the stage with Loretta Lynn at the 2014 CMA’s.

Musgraves arrives at the CMA's with a closer-to-God hairdo.

Musgraves arrives at the CMA’s with a closer-to-God hairdo.

She has an air of Willie Nelson and Hank Williams in her, and I can’t help but get excited. She reminds me of older Country acts that had so much more depth to them than current ones. She makes Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift look generic. She pisses off radio stations and upends the expectations of a Country artist by directly addressing an LGBTQ audience, weed, infidelity and nosey neighbors. Her character shows through every song on her album. And I sincerely forgot that I was listening to a Country artist by the end. That’s a helluva feat.

The central theme to this post isn’t difficult: listen to everything and keep an open mind, because sometimes an artist can jump out from a genre and really surprise you. As Musgraves says, Mend your own fences and own your own crazy. Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy.

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