Kacey Musgraves: “Songs About Life Through My Lens”

Two Songs Reflect Yin and Yang of Hurt and Love

It’s been a while since Kacey Musgraves released brand new music. But man, are these new tunes worth the wait.

On Friday (Feb. 23), Musgraves is putting the first two of her new songs out into the world. And after catching up with Musgraves on her bus a week ago — and getting the stories behind “Space Cowboy” and “Butterflies” — it’s easy to see how they land on opposite ends of the love spectrum. She told me, “That was intentional.”

“Space Cowboy” — which Musgraves wrote with Luke Laird and Shane McAnally — is about the letting go.

“It’s a look into where I’ve been, and where I am now,” Musgraves told me. “I like that it’s very sparse. And it’s just about making peace with a door closing in your life. I feel like everyone can relate to that. When you’re just like, ’I don’t understand this. It hurts right now.’

“But it allows something better to come in.”

The chorus alone is full of clever goodbyes: You can have your space, cowboy and I ain’t gonna fence you in and then, I know my place and it ain’t with you/Sunsets fade and love does, too.

After that faded sunset, there is “Butterflies.” If “Space Cowboy” is the before, “Butterflies” is the after.

Musgraves told me she wrote with Laird and Natalie Hemby, shortly after she’d met her husband singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly, and right around the time that a happy ending started looking inevitable.

“’Butterflies’ was the first song that I wrote after meeting Ruston.

“I met him right around the time that I started to be creative again,” Musgraves said, “and that just naturally influenced me. I was like, ’I wonder if I’m gonna be able to write, because I’m happy now.'”

That happiness shows. Lyrics about lifting her up instead of holding her down, and stealing her heart instead of stealing her crown lead into the idea that, Now I remember what it feels like to fly/You give me butterflies.

“I haven’t ever really been a relationship-song kind of person, I’ve been inspired naturally by other parts of life. But I kind of did the opposite, so that played a really big part in all the songs,” she said.

All 13 tracks of Musgraves’ Golden Hour will be released on March 30. And her hope is that there will be songs for everyone about everything. “I wanted it to be a well-rounded album,” she said. “So it’s just songs about life through my lens, I guess.”

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