Twenty-four-year-old Texan Kacey Musgraves has been hailed as part of a new wave of forthright female country singers; not since the emergence of Taylor Swift has there been as much buzz in the genre about a young artist's crossover potential. Like Swift, Musgraves is a gifted songwriter – though her route to the mainstream is likely to come via audiences other than teenpop. She sings with an affectless detachment reminiscent of, say, Aimee Mann, and uses it to cut sharply through the lies people tell themselves: "We get bored, so we get married/ Just like dust, we settle in this town," she sighs on Merry Go 'Round. Her cynicism is always leavened by empathy, though: Keep It to Yourself puts a lovelorn ex firmly but gently in his place, while the ennui-riven Blowin' Smoke is a pitch-perfect, non-judgmental depiction of trash-talking, small-town waitresses reminiscing about one of their own who got away. Notable, too, is Musgraves' casual endorsement of gay relationships on the jaunty shrug of Follow Your Arrow.
Kacey Musgraves: Same Trailer Different Park – review
Alex Macpherson is a freelance journalist who writes for The Guardian, New Statesman, Metro, Fact and Attitude. He distracts himself by checking tennis results, attending street dance classes and trawling for new music in the name of research