Same Trailer, Different Park didn’t have any of the predictable elements of a mainstream country success. Kacey Musgraves’s 2013 major label debut was subtly produced, its biggest single endorsed pot smoking and lesbian sex (“if that’s something you’re into”), and its overall tenor felt closer to a Paste-endorsed critical darling than a runaway commercial hit. But sometimes, good songwriting can break down all barriers. The album hit #2 on the Billboard Albums Chart, and sat comfortably atop the Country album charts, spawning four singles and selling a more-than-respectable half million copies. Including a nod for “Mama’s Broken Heart,” the Miranda Lambert smash which Musgraves co-wrote, Trailer gleaned her a total of four Grammy nominations, and it won for Best Country Album and Best Country Song. Bunbury marks an early stop on Musgraves’s tour for her sophomore album Pageant Material, due out June 23rd on Mercury Nashville, which could be just the vehicle she needs to launch into the superstardom.
That aforementioned single, “Follow Your Arrow,” has become her calling card. It courted controversy due to its lyrical contents, but its success undeniably represents some shifting social attitudes in the traditionally conservative country market. The song addresses the damned if you do, damned if you don’t contradictions of modern societal pressures: “Can't win for losing, you'll just disappoint 'em/Just 'cause you can't beat 'em don't mean you should join 'em.” Instead? “Just follow your arrow wherever it points.” Her first hit, the Grammy-honored “Merry Go ‘Round” was a bit more of a downbeat affair, looking at the sometimes-insular nature of small town life and the rut-like mindset it can induce. “We get bored, so we get married/Just like dust, we settle in this town.” “Blowin’ Smoke” follows in a similar vein: “We all say we’ll quit someday/When our ship comes in, we’ll just sail away/But we’re just blowin’ smoke.” It’s a very insightful (and sometimes startlingly cynical) batch of songs coming from someone who was only 23 when most of them were written.
“Biscuits,” the first release from Pageant Material, feels like an intentional follow-up to “Follow Your Arrow,” dispensing gentle, sage advice with a singalong chorus--”Mind your own biscuits, and life will be gravy.” Several other new songs, including “High Time,” have appeared at her recent festival sets, so we’re sure to get a healthy dose of fresh material at Bunbury mixed in with some of her trademark covers. Even in her choice spot on the Yeatman’s Cove Stage, this could be your last chance to catch her in this intimate of a setting--she’s primed for bigger things.
Yeatman’s Cove Stage, Saturday, June 6, 7:15 PM
Enter to win a pair of 3-day passes to the Bunbury Music Festival HERE!