© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

How Kacey Musgraves single-handedly redefined country music

Meg Wyatt
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Kacey Musgraves  Instagram: @spaceykacey

When Golden Hour won Album of the Year at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, public opinion was divided. It seemed as though half of the world praised The Recording Academy for finally picking a worthy victor, the other half screamed "WHO?". Kacey Musgraves had brought modern country music to the world stage and people were finally starting to listen- a genre which has been widely restricted by culture and geography was now making waves all over the globe. 

Born and raised in Texas, Musgraves began writing music at age eight. She started out her career as an indie artist, self-releasing three albums before her first major-label album 'Same Trailer, Different Park' in 2013. Most notably perhaps, was the inclusion of the single 'Follow Your Arrow' in which Musgraves vocally supported the LGBTQ+ community and the use of recreational marijuana. While her mainstream debut established her as a hot, new artist to watch, it also made waves in a traditionally very conservative market with country radio stations banning the song from their playlists. Musgraves was a lone, liberal, rebel in a very red sea.

After the successful release of her sophomore album 'Pageant Material' in 2015 and 'A Very Kacey Christmas' in 2016, Kacey's fourth album 'Golden Hour' was released on March 30th, 2018. It stood out as a genre-defying, magical piece of work, earning an 89/100 on Metacritic and widespread critical acclaim.


"[it's] not classicist, but perhaps it might be classic."
Katherine St. Asaph


Musgraves has become something of a champion for country music within mainstream culture with appearances on Ru Paul's Drag Race and multiple live performances with Harry Styles. She has also appeared on Sir Elton John's YouTube show Rocket Hour and as a result, she has earned the reputation of being a 'gateway drug' into country music. 

'Golden Hour' 's unique blend of disco and mellow pop-country has without a doubt paved the way for new artists to follow in Kacey's footsteps. Her liberal attitudes, along with her unique style are constantly evolving and challenging the expectations of country music classicists. I for one, have never been so excited for an artist to release new music than I am for Kacey to announce her inevitable fifth album. Needless to say, the bar is set very high.


Listen to 'Golden Hour' on your favourite streaming platforms and Tracks96.1 on iHeartRadio & Rova.