Right now, we’re watching Kacey Musgraves embrace her status as the country music star for people who don’t like the Nashville version of country all that much. That’s fine! Just so long as you know that Musgraves is very much a part of that Nashville system. Her new album Golden Hour is one of the year’s best — partly because it uses those well-worn Nashville tropes, partly because it subverts them. This fall, she’s going out on tour and bringing indie rock types like Soccer Mommy and Natalie Prass along with her, which is cool but which doesn’t really affect the general countryness of what she’s doing. And if you see Musgraves perform, then you’ll see that she’s basically doing what she’s always been doing, and she’s doing it really well.
Last night, Musgraves was the musical guest on James Corden’s Late Late Show. She’s been playing a lot of TV shows lately, and for this one, she tried out one of the songs that hasn’t really been in media-appearance rotation. She sang “Golden Hour,” the new album’s title track. It’s not one of the more exciting songs from the album. Instead, it’s a sedate, sunny shimmer, and it sounded lovely.
Musgraves’ performance was calm and assured, with her band bringing out the soft-focus lushness of the song. It was a really nice performance, but it also worked as an example of how Musgraves is basically working from a traditional country-pop template — the same template that’s currently drawing a lot on the Californian singer-songwriters of the ’70s. Point is: Don’t go see Musgraves and expect to hear St. Vincent or whatever. Watch the performance below.
Golden Hour is out now on MCA Nashville.