“This is my hometown show!” Kacey Musgraves exclaimed from the stage near the start of her performance.
Though she had been on her current tour for several days in Texas this as close as Musgraves had come to her hometown. Musgraves cut her honky-tonk teeth in Golden TX. which lay a little more than 96 miles West of Dallas and many friends and family had come to see her at this special homecoming to celebrate a top-selling, Grammy-winning, chart-landing big-label debut and a tour of the world to support it.
Musgraves and her family were joined by a long-ago sold-out crowd of fans that formed a line that snaked around the side of the venue hours before doors were announced to open. Good ol’ boys, tattooed young gals and middle-age couples all stood boot-to-boot to catch country music’s newest star.
Credit Musgraves or her team for picking the Granada, and it’s capacity for roughly 800, for an intimate homecoming. She had recently rolled off an opening slot for pop-goddess Katy Perry, where the audience was treated to “Fire and dancing cats” and they were “shocked that we were a country band,” but the KatyCats eventually warmed up to them.
It’s easy to see why.
Though deeply steeped in country music’s traditional forms Musgraves has done what her predecessors like Dolly Parton and The Dixie Chicks had done years before. Worked traditional country music forms, and their strengths of storytelling, to build connections blended with contemporary sounds and dialect to appeal to a wider audience. All this without diluting the original spirit. This is no small task.
The 800 plus venue faced a stage that appeared set for a set for a larger production and might very well have been as much was probably used on the bigger venues she’s recently played.
The signature “acid western” motif of dusky western sky backdrop and neon cacti were on display to add just the right amount of kitschy fun. And her band’s Nudie style matching suits festooned with Christmas lights sealed the deal.
And a big show it was. Not big in the contemporary KISS-style circus definition of the word, but big in talent and heart.
From the opener “Silver Lining,” from her Grammy-winning 4th studio release ” Same Trailer Different Park,” she had the crowd enchanted. Donning a short skirt (she warned the front row to be careful with those phone cameras) cowboy boots, checked cotton shirt and fringed rhinestone wrist cuffs, she had the room as background accompaniment with the opening verse.
Woke up on the right side of rock bottom
You’re all out of pennies, and the well it done run dry
Light ’em up and smoke ’em if you had ’em,
But you just ain’t got ’em
Ain’t we always looking for a bluer sky
And it went that way the whole hour-plus show. Musgraves and her excellent band played ” Same Trailer…” nearly in it’s entirety as well as some choice covers and new songs at the encore.
Highlights were “Blowin’ Smoke,” which had the crowd answering back with the “Hey yeah” that gives the song it’s bluesy swagger. The non album track “The Trailer Song” which she premiered earlier this year ( “You might not have lived in a trailer, but I bet you has a nosey neighbor.”) was also a highlight as well as “Merry Go ‘Round” as Musgraves asked the crowd to use their cell phone lights to create a wonderful starry effect.
The covers were inspired as Dolly Parton’s “Here You Come Again ” fit her pop leanings and the Roger Cook, John Prine penned “Dance With You,” made famous by Texas legend George Strait shows she has a keen sense of great songs.
Her reggae-flavored working of “Step Off” folded nicely into Bob Marley’s positive vibe of “3 Lil’ Birds” to the crowd’s roaring delight and her version of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood “These Boots Are Made For Walkin” brought the show to a steamy, rocking boil.
The finale has Musgrames and the boys circled around a single mic for an accapella version of Roy Rogers “Happy Trails.”
Years of playing live and penning quality songs for the likes of Gretchen Wilson, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride and ABC’s Nashville have honed Musgraves into a sharp songwriter with an eye for common themes told in uncommon ways. Her “aw shucks” demeanor never come off as false or forced.
Will she have the staying power of loretta, Dolly or the pre-scandal Dixie Chicks? Time will tell. But one thing for sure, Kacey Musgraves is off to a hell of a start.
I Miss You
Here You Come Again (Dolly Parton cover)
The Trailer Song
Keep It To Yourself
Back on the Map
Mama’s Broken Heart (Miranda Lambert)
No Scrubs (TLC cover)
It Is What It Is
Dance With You – (George Strait cover)
Step Off / 3 Lil’ Birds (Bob Marley & The Wailers cover)
Merry Go ‘Round
Biscuits (new song – solo acoustic)
Cup of Tea (new song – solo acoustic)
These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ (Nancy Sinatra /Lee Hazlewood cover)
Follow Your Arrow
Happy Trails (Roy Rogers cover)