Yes, Robin did stay up to listen to this.
by Robin Happel
First of all, I’m not ashamed to admit that I stayed up for the midnight release of this. Kacey Musgraves is a top-tier road trip soundtrack, second only to John Denver, and since I drive from Fordham to my hometown in east Tennessee at least twice a year, I’m always looking for more Musgraves on my airwaves.
Kacey’s newest album is something of a mellowing of her twangy, country-with-a-twist style. In songs like “Space Cowboy,” she showcases the clever wordplay that first made her famous, while creating a sort of spacey, transcendent vibe similar to Kesha’s Rainbow. Musgraves’ brand is the Southern mythos of songs like “Dime Store Cowgirl” and, while this album strays somewhat from her more traditional odes to small towns and summer beauty pageants, Golden Hour still remains firmly rooted in Graceland with tracks like “Velvet Elvis.” Songs like “Butterflies” and “Rainbow” further echo the effervescence of “Silver Lining” and other past hits, perhaps most famously “Follow Your Arrow” from the 2014 Grammy Awards.
Although little on Golden Hour is really a surprise, in short, Musgraves has proven herself to be much more than a one hit wonder. To dedicated bluegrass fans, her range and originality is reminiscent almost of Dolly Parton, and Musgraves herself cites Queen Dolly as a primary inspiration. Like Parton, Musgraves is also often a voice of tolerance in an industry prone at times to right-wing polemics. Taking up the mantle of the Dixie Chicks, she doesn’t shy away from the South’s social struggles, and pushes back against the demure, good girl persona that is so often expected of female country artists.