Until recently, the only trailer park music I was familiar with came from Marshall Mathers. Also, the only country songs I really enjoyed were in a comical sense and whose lyrics involved guns, America and freedom. The genre was seemingly lost upon me despite hearing it nearly every time I went out in public. While breaking from “traditional country values” Kacey Musgraves manages to tell her trailer tale and appeal as the all American sweetheart at same time.
In the past three years that I’ve actually listened to country music, I’ve been hesitant to attend any concerts. I don’t own boots (aside from my snow boots) and have never considered myself a “country person.” Last night when I saw Kacey with my sister, all the fears I had previously touted were carried away with the crisp September breeze that came through the outdoor venue. Even with moving around and singing her heart out, the featured performer in a silver dress expressed her own opinion about the cold, “Y’all keep dancing to stay warm. I’m freezing my titties off up here!”
The 27 year old Texas native took the stage at the Britt Festival in Jacksonville and struck up a tune without introduction. Having been fairly famous for a few years now, she’s racked up national awards and has spotlight experience under her red bow belt. Kacey’s stardom became apparent when her small stature was able to project an aura of feisty lovableness throughout the venue by bellowing her songs and playing the guitar with her band “The Runner-Ups.”
After being around the lights and cameras for awhile now, the flashiness still isn’t taken for granted though, as the young star jokingly talked about her obsession with rhinestones. Glitter and gold might be appealing on the surface level but her latest album, Pageant Material, expresses how Musgraves is O.K. with not being perfect or always scoring 10/10. In most of her music released to date, she is able to convey to her listeners that everyone is a little messed up and that that is also O.K.
Between her songs, Musgraves gave praise to the beautiful scenery and people in Oregon. “Y’all love your nature here,” she called out before going into her story about trying to pet the infamous Southern Oregon deer earlier that afternoon. Hearing the personal explanations about the songs that have simple yet strong lyrics made me realize that it was alright to be there. Like I said before, I don’t love or connect much to country music but amid her stories and swearing, Kacey joked about how people get riled up about things that don’t matter much; and I really liked that.
“She’s a liberal country singer,” yelled one of the audience members to their friend on Thursday night. The wording of that classification might not be spot on, but the drunken twenty-something year old calling out didn’t entirely miss the mark. While resurrecting traditional sounds created by steel guitar and banjos, Musgraves has faced adversity for using lyrics that talk about encouraging homosexuality, marijuana usage as well as promiscuous activity. When confronted about her themes that break country stereotypes, Kasey said, “The things I’m singing about are not controversial to me, I don’t push buttons to push buttons. I talk about things that have made an impression on me that a lot of people everywhere are going through.”
In hindsight, I’m very happy that Kacey was the first country performance that I attended. Her showmanship doesn’t seem hokey and she hasn’t climbed to fame by being shallow or just because of her stunning looks. Not to sound too much like a fanboy, but her “message” is applicable to pretty much everyone. In a shiny dress and light up cowgirl boots, Musgrave’s angelic voice claims her music reflects, “some real shit,” and her fans, including myself, couldn’t agree more.