The Times is premiering a behind-the-scenes look at Kacey Musgraves’ new album “Pageant Material,” and in particular the process that went to the song “Good Ol Boys Club,” a wry poke at the bro-country movement that’s swept Nashville in recent years, and more generally to the male-dominated culture in music and beyond.
The 27-year-old singer and songwriter from Mineola, Tex., said she and several of her collaborators on the the album — songwriters Luke Laird and Shane McAnally, who also co-produced the album with Musgraves; another maverick writer who has broken through recently, Brandy Clark; along with Josh Osborne and Natalie Hemby — holed up in Texas to write most of the songs. The idea was "to get away from everything on Music Row and the noise of everything that’s going on in the music business,” as McAnally puts it.
The song, which Musgraves wrote with Hemby and Laird, gently jabs the “boys club” mentality, stating “Favors for friends will get you in and get you far/When did it become about who you know/And not about how good you are?”
And it reinforces one message that’s been a key part of Musgraves’ success since releasing her debut album “Same Trailer, Different Park,” in 2012: staying true to oneself regardless of the outcome.
There’s a million ways to dream and that’s just fine
Oh, but I ain’t losing any sleep at night
And if I end up going down in flames
Well, at least I know I did it my own way
During an interview with The Times while she was in Southern California to perform at the Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio in April, Musgraves said she loves the Nashville tradition of collaborative songwriting.
“I think some of my best work is with other people -- which is interesting, because you don’t see many paintings where a painter starts it and then hands it to someone else to finish,” she said. “So music is different in that way.
“But I really enjoy bringing an idea I’ve started to someone else, and their brain may take it to a place, a completely different direction I would never think about,” she said. “I really appreciate that part of it. I second guess a lot when I’m by myself, because I have no one to bounce it off of. I don’t know if it’s the most brilliant thing I’ve ever written, or the worst. I can’t tell.”
She launches her Kacey Musgraves Country & Western Rhinestone Revue on Aug. 27 in Atlanta, returning to Los Angeles for a Sept. 11 stop at the Wiltern Theatre. The U.S. tour leg runs through Oct. 24 in New York, then she heads to Europe for shows in England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany and the Netherlands.
In assessing the new album, she said, “The thing that I’m the very most proud of is getting to literally say what I want to say, and create the things that I want to create, because a lot of times that doesn’t happen. … I’ve never had to compromise that.”