Y’all, I’m late on the Kacey train. At the kind invitation of my friend Karen, I threw a little caution to the wind to catch one of the final dates for her Oh, What a World II tour at Radio City Music Hall. The emotional connection I have to the country singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves is rolling through Joshua Tree National Park last April with my friend Currey. The desert was blooming following a lot of rain with ‘Space Cowboy’ and ‘High Horse’ as our soundtrack.
Living in New York, my country roots sometimes need nourishing and I crave my ’90s country queens: Trisha Yearwood, Sara Evans, Shania, Martina, Reba, Wynonna. ’10s country queens struggle to keep my attention, save Miranda Lambert. But Kacey has earned a place on the playlist and in my heart. She’s a clever song-writer, an ally to the LGBT community, and she’s down with Mary Jane. I also love the lull in her delivery of double entendre: ‘space… cowboy.’ ‘whor…ribble person.’
Karen’s pre-show report is that she plays every song off her 2019 Grammy-sweeping record, Golden Hour. Sure enough she did, opening with ‘Slow Burn,’ ‘Wonder Woman’ and three more tracks (see below). I didn’t know the album that well prior to the show, but it’s been on heavy rotation since. My new favorites include the title track, ‘Rainbow’ for the gays (or maybe I just read into that), and ‘Love is a Wild Thing,’ the first love song she wrote after meeting her husband, country singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly. I hold a candle for that song for myself. She also paid homage to Whitney Houston with a fun cover of ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).’
Toward the end of the show, she performed ‘Follow Your Arrow,’ the sexually fluid song I vaguely remember from her 2013 debut album, Same Trailer, Different Park. I think she performed it at the Grammy’s that year too. She talked about the risk she took publishing it, and the objection of her record label. Given the era we live in now, the fear of ‘other’ that’s weaponized, I’m curious if her record company would allow her publish it today. I suspect things would be different, so I’m thankful she performs it proudly every evening. Long live Musgrave love. I still have butterflies.