Sounding Board

Kacey Musgraves’ Charm Offense Seizes Governors Ball

After noting that she just got back from an international tour, Kacey Musgraves shot the Governors Ball crowd a mile-wide smile, one of many, and owned up to some jetlag: “I don’t know what fucking time it is, but we’re gonna have a good time,” she said, truthfully. The crowd went wild at this. They did that a lot during her set.

You know that the crowd loves you when even the simple act of adjusting your ponytail earns massive applause, as it did yesterday during Musgrave’s afternoon show on the Governors Ball mainstage. And no wonder. There’s a lot of goodwill for Musgraves at the moment. She first gained attention outside of country music circles by smuggling some pro-LGBT sentiment onto staid, conservative country radio with her 2013 single “Follow Your Arrow,” suggesting that she was a good egg. But the mind behind this website’s favorite album of last year, the Grammy-winning Golden Hour, has seemingly been on a mission to charm the world of late, while simultaneously proving how little fucks she has to give. After winning the Grammy, she shaded the entire organization on live television for their sexism, she had the funniest celebrity tweet in reaction to Alabama’s recent abortion ban (again, a brave stance for someone in the country music world) and also recently drank out of a boot. (I don’t know either, but it seemed to make the Australians happy.)

Musgraves is a reassuring rebel, a walking contradiction that somehow works. In the tradition based world of country music, she continues to do her own thing, as seen by the disco-twang of her set closer “High Horse,” which turned Governors Ball into a giant dance party, rainbow Pride flags waving in unison. Golden Hour found her digging in deep into the elusive nature of love and hope while nudging her songs in idiosyncratic, often psychedelic directions, such as her set opener “Slow Burn,” which wafted over the crowd like a heady breeze,  while ultimately coming off as a high-end but nonetheless extremely comfortable musical equivalent of a cozy blanket, something we all desperately need. Musgraves is always one to do her own thing. And ultimately, that thing is trying to make everyone feel better, letting them know, as she did during a lovely rendition of “Golden Hour,” that “everything’s gonna be alright.”

“This is the beginning of Pride Month. Fuck yeah!” she said towards the end of her set. “Every month should be pride month.” She then dedicated “Rainbow” to “everyone with a weight on their shoulder,” her voice somehow finding new levels of warmth when she hit the lines “But you’re stuck out in the same old storm again/Let go of your umbrella.” Musgraves seems like the type who would give everyone in the audience a hug if she could, but in order to save time she simply had to give the audience as much empathy as she possibly could, ending the song by making clear the message of so many of her songs by sweetly saying “it all be alright.”

Again, its hard to overstate just how much people loved Musgraves, how much they cheered at every single thing she did onstage. And she wasn’t above milking it either, noting that “I see you with your cowboy hats and yeehaw accessories. And I know that yee-haw is having a moment, but I’ve been yee-hawing all my life,” she said, acknowledging the yee-haw agenda. (Musgraves reads blogs! She really is just like us!) She then tested our yeehaw credentials by leading the crowd in a chant: “when I say yee, you say haw! Yee! Haw!” The crowd played along, gleefully. They probably all would have done a shoey, if she’d asked them to.

Before playing “Love Is A Wild Thing,” a tender plea to keep your heart open no matter how much it hurts, Musgraves proved her resilience yet again by noting “there’s a lot of ugly shit in the world, ‘yall, humanity has lost its fucking mind.” She then smiled, a little. One senses she can’t help it. “But love finds its way, through cracks in the sidewalk. We all deserve love.” Like anyone who pays attention to the news and agrees with Musgraves re: ugly shit, I sometimes have my doubt that we truly deserve love, but it’s nice to hear someone say it, to hear someone insist that we’ll get through this. We might all deserve love, but we probably don’t deserve Kacey Musgraves.