Kacey Musgraves' new country sound

Nov. 22, 2013, 5:33 p.m. | By Zoe Johnson | 10 years, 4 months ago

Young songwriter is making waves

At the ripe old age of 25, country artist Kacey Musgraves has already released four albums, three of them on her own. But she has only started to receive critical acclaim recently. To the delight of many of her fans, Musgraves was named the "Best New Artist" at the Country Music Awards (CMAs) on Nov. 6. Musgraves, who was nominated for six awards, released Same Trailer Different Park, her fourth album, earlier this year.

The Texas native released her first album at the age of 14, with two more albums following before she turned 20. Still, she didn't rise to fame until last year, when her single "Merry-Go-Round" sold 626,000 copies. In 2013, "Blowing Smoke" and "Follow Your Arrow" followed suit, selling 150,000 and 142,000 copies, respectively.

Musgraves has gained popularity for bringing a new perspective and tone into country music. "She has an alternative sound," junior MaryClare Callahan said. "A lot of country is very twang-y, and she has a much chiller vibe." Musgraves is also liberal, which is unusual for country singers and is reflected in a lot of her music, particularly "Follow Your Arrow," which touches on homosexuality, marijuana and premarital sex. (When she performed the song at the CMAs, the line about marijuana was censored). For many Blazers, this style makes her more appealing than other country singers. "She broadens the horizon for people coming into the country music world," Callahan said.

Musgraves has said that although she identifies as a country artist, she feels that she writes for those who don't like country music as well as those who do. "She embraces country but doesn't use it as a limiting factor," junior Christina McCann said. "She brings it to a more realistic level that a wider audience can relate to and appreciate."

Blair students believe her success represents a wider shift in country music. "She's more versatile and more liberal. She talks about social change instead of summer nights," McCann said. Fans agree that this is a change for the better. "It's definitely a positive thing. It'll be good for the genre," Callahan said. "As the world changes and people become more liberal and accepting, it's a good way to expose the thoughts of people in music."

Musgraves' music is also celebrated for the honest portrayal of issues such as personal identity, acceptance and nonconformity facing today's youth. "She writes about real emotions and problems, but she also writes about how as a woman she has the power to take control of her situation," Callahan said. "Follow Your Arrow" is widely regarded as an empowerment anthem, encouraging people to do whatever makes them happy: in the chorus, Musgraves sings, "Make lots of noise, kiss lots of boys / Or kiss lots of girls, if that's something you're into / When the straight and narrow gets a little too straight / Roll up a joint, or don't / Just follow your arrow wherever it points."

As a fresh, progressive voice writing simple, powerful music about issues many teenagers can identify with, her fans believe Musgraves is an excellent role model and idol. "She's nothing but a good influence," Callahan said. "Every teenage girl needs to hear her songs. Everyone needs to know about her."

Tags: Best New Artist Award Blowing Smoke Country Music Awards Kacey Musgraves Merry-Go-Round

Zoe Johnson. Hey there! I'm Zoe, and my spirit animal is a lioness, which sums up my personality pretty well, actually--though I do try not rip people from limb to limb if I can help it. But hey, we've all got our growth areas, right? I really … More »

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