Kacey Musgraves’ 2013 debut, Same Trailer Different Park, won a Grammy for Best Country Album and was named Album of the Year by the Academy of Country Music. It was on many 10 Best lists for the year as well. This success made her follow-up, Pageant Material, highly anticipated.
Working with the same co-writers and producers, Musgraves again keeps the production mostly traditional with banjo and steel guitar prevalent in most of the songs. The songwriting may cover much of the same territory as the first record but is still sharp with plenty of humor (“Biscuits”, “Family is Family”, the title track) and poignance (“Somebody to Love”, “Miserable”). “Dime Store Cowgirl” is a life on the road song, which I always enjoy. “Good Ol’ Boys Club” is a biting commentary on the current state of country music and the place of women in it. There’s also an excellent hidden track at the end, a duet with Willie Nelson called “Are You Sure”.
At a time when mainstream country has lost its identity, Kacey Musgraves is not following the trends. Country music has always been about storytelling. As long as there are artists like her keeping the traditional sound and style alive, the genre will be fine.