Kacey Musgraves: Making the Most of Living Once

“Say what you think/Love who you love/’Cause you just get so many trips ’round the sun/Yeah, you only, only live once.”

That’s from the bridge in Kacey Musgraves’ new single “Follow Your Arrow” which arrives at radio stations Oct. 7. So that’s the big picture — that you should do what makes you happy in life and not worry about what others will think. Judge not, lest ye be judged and all that. It’s simple but really sage advice. And it will be on country radio soon if stations are brave enough to send that kind of message.

I say “brave” because there are a few mentions of potentially controversial topics in the lyrics. Like how premarital sex could have you labeled as a whore. How drinking could have you labeled as a drunk. How losing weight could have you labeled as a crack addict. How skipping church could have you labeled as hell-bound. And that you should make noise, kiss boys — kiss girls if that’s something you’re into — and roll up a joint if the straight and narrow gets a little too straight.

But while some radio stations seem to get rid of a questionable word here and there, I don’t see it happening this time. Maybe when a song throws a swear word in where it isn’t really necessary, a radio boss might take that word out. Like in Tyler Farr’s “Redneck Crazy,” some radio programmers took out “pissed off.” And in Zac Brown Band’s “Toes,” some of them took the “fat” modifier off what I can only assume was a reference to a joint. Those were just kind of superfluous words.

But all of Musgraves’ words are necessary to make her point that you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, so you might as well just do whatever you want.

That attitude has certainly paid off for Musgraves. She has six nominations at this year’s CMA Awards, including album of the year for her debut Same Trailer, Different Park.

She’s following her arrow, for sure. And I’d love to do the same.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.