Album of the year nominee Kacey Musgraves on the importance of the Grammy Awards

Kacey Musgraves At Spencer House For Spotify
Kacey Musgraves is nominated for several Grammy Awards, including album of the year.
(Chris J. Ratcliffe / Getty Images)
Pop Music Critic

Awards season has long been underway for Kacey Musgraves.

Last month her “Golden Hour” — a tender and dreamy meditation on new romance by this recently married 30-year-old — was named album of the year at the Country Music Assn. Awards.

For the Grammys, for which nominations were unveiled this morning, Musgraves will compete in multiple categories including country album, country song and the prestigious album of the year.

In New York this week to be honored as part of Billboard’s Women in Music event, Musgraves stressed that a Grammy nod is something special, given that the Recording Academy considers (or professes to consider) “every kind of music that came out in a year,” as Musgraves put it.


“And this year I feel like there were a lot of strong voices from all over the place.”

Indeed, “Golden Hour” is the only country project up for the album prize, a category in which the other nominees include LPs by Cardi B, Post Malone, Drake and Janelle Monáe.

For country song, Musgraves’ typically clever “Space Cowboy” (which she co-wrote with Luke Laird and Shane McAnally) is up against tunes by Maren Morris (“Dear Hate”) and Dan & Shay (“Tequila”), among others. Her competitors for country album are Kelsea Ballerini, Ashley McBryde, Brothers Osborne and Chris Stapleton.

“Butterflies,” “Golden Hour’s” fluttering lead single, was also nominated for country solo performance.


FULL COVERAGE: 2019 Grammy nominations »

Musgraves attributed what she sees as the wealth of great music in 2018 to “the chaotic social landscape,” out of which “can only come inspiring art and inspiring songs.”

“Art has always been a reflection of that side of culture,” she said.

For her, that didn’t result in a political album, per se, but one she created in the hope that it might offer listeners a refuge from the negativity she said suffuses the news right now.

And by listeners, she didn’t mean just country fans.

Musgraves was aiming more broadly than that with “Golden Hour,” which pairs acoustic guitars and pedal steel with slick synth textures and throbbing disco beats.

That stylistic experimentation — along with an established lack of support for female artists — led to a less-than-robust presence for “Golden Hour” on the radio, which remains far more powerful in country music than in other genres.


“No matter how many streaming services you have on your phone, radio is still a large part of this world,” Musgraves said. “So for someone who doesn’t have that on her side,” she went on, the Grammy nominations are proof that “the songs are resonating with people.

“It also reinforces the fact that good songs are good songs, whatever genre they’re in.”

2019 Grammy nominations: The full list »

Twitter: @mikaelwood

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