In my twenties, when I spent a lot of time in Oregon and the southwest, I came to love country music. I enjoyed the roots of the genre as you hear it in artists like Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, and The Carter Family. I also favored contemporaries of the time like Emmy Lou Harris and Johnny Cash.
I haven’t listened so much since the genre tilted toward glamour and glitz. That’s one reason I was delighted to hear a fresh young artist introduced on NPR. Twenty-four year old Kacey Musgraves writes and sings with the heart and authenticity of her country ancestors, even as her songs are squarely 21st century. Her debut album, “Same Trailer, Different Park,” comes out on March 19. You can sample the songs on the NPR page, First listen: Kacey Musgraves.
Kacey grew up in Mineola, Texas. In the words of NPR, she writes “about and for people who’ve learned to fit their dreams into recession-sized moving boxes; who gain comfort from their family traditions…who find their pleasures and pains not in the excesses promoted by Hollywood or Nashvegas, but in jokes shared during a work break at the Waffle House, or nights of glory at the local karaoke bar.”
Available youTube clips don’t have the acoustic quality I expect to hear after the album release, but I was taken by the optimism that underlies the poignancy in “Silver Linings:”
Woke up on the wrong side of rock bottom
Throw a lot of pennies in a well
That done run dry
Light up and smoke ’em if you have ’em
But you just ain’t got ’em
Yeah ain’t we always looking For a bluer sky?
I’m planning to visit iTunes for this on March 19.