Kacey Musgraves Says ‘Pageant Material’ Is a Family Affair
Kacey Musgraves admits her new album Pageant Material serves as an autobiography in some ways, but that wasn't her intent when she began writing and recording her second studio album. Many are looking for the next "Follow Your Arrow," a song that stirred up controversy while helping her earn multiple Song and Album of the Year honors. Those songs are there, but they're not the heart of this project.
“I didn’t have any intentions going in except for just wanting to write a bunch of good songs. Country songs," Musgraves tells Taste of Country. Family covers the album in very real and implied ways. Her sister took the picture that covers the Texan's sophomore effort. An old audio recording of her late grandmother begins "This Town." She tells a story that's both awful and hilarious.
I didn’t have any intentions going in except for just wanting to write a bunch of good songs, country songs.
"She didn’t know I was recording at the time," the singer says of the introduction to this album's "Merry Go Round," talking of her grandmother. Sonically, the two are different, but both give an honest and maybe painful picture of Golden, Texas. At times it seems like Musgraves has a love/hate relationship with where she grew up. There's always a vague malaise when she sings about her raising, which she says is more truth than resentment.
"It's all love," she admits in the above video, clearing up any doubt about her intent.
"Family Is Family" is another that relies on memories from her childhood. "Dime Store Cowgirl" sounds like it's quite literally an autobiography.
"I made it all the way past Austin City Limits / Maybe for a minute I got too big for my britches / But I'm just a dime store cowgirl / That's all I'm ever gonna be / You can take me out of the country / But you can't take the country out of me," she sings.
"Biscuits" is her first "statement" song on the album, but "Good Ol' Boys Club" is more pointed. "Don't wanna be part of / The good 'ol boys club / Cigars and handshakes / Appreciate you but no thanks," she says on Pageant Material's 11th track.
Those stand out, but they don't cover up the tender moments that separate this album from her debut. Look to "Late to the Party" to find growth and maturity. It's a sweet, sweet love song that finds the sometimes cynical singer floating on a heart-shaped cloud.
"I'm sorry I'm not sorry / That I'm late to the party with you," Musgraves sings, seemingly on tip-toes in order to reach new notes. "Oh who needs confetti, we're already falling into the groove / And who needs a crowd when you're happy at a party for two."
Musgraves doesn't say she has boyfriend/bandmate Misa Arriaga in mind when she's singing the song, but she helped write it and she concedes that all of the songs she writes are inspired by what's going on in her life. "I'm never late to the party if I'm late to the party with you," she croons over the rhythmic strum of an acoustic guitar.
There are more similarities to Same Trailer, Different Park than differences, something Musgraves happily admits. With the exception of the final track, she mostly keeps the messages aimed at herself and those in her inner-circle. Sometimes an album that's so personal will fail to register with a broad audience. That wasn't an issue on Same Trailer, Different Park, however.
Pageant Material is in stores and at digital retailers now.
See Pics From Kacey Musgraves' Set at Country Jam 2015