When I sat down with Kacey Musgraves to talk about her new album Golden Hour, she asked most of the questions at first.
“Was it different than you expected?”
“Did you think I might be going in a different direction?”
“Did you grow up with the Bee Gees?”
I told her, “Yes. Yes. And yes.”
But in the process of finding out more about me, Musgraves also revealed more of what she’d put into making this new album.
These are the six ways she was influenced and inspired to make these 13 songs.
1. Keeping it country-ish. “It was important for me to keep the elements of traditional country music that I love, like banjo and steel,” Musgraves told me about the way she stayed true to the sounds that brought her to the genre. “Those are still all over the album, but maybe they are a little less featured or obvious than some of the other albums I’ve made.”
2. Let some future in. “I was really inspired by the idea of this world where futuristic sounding things like synth pads and vocoders (voice synthesizers) could live with those traditional country elements I love.”
3. Fuse the very old and the super new. “I love thinking about where future meets tradition; or where something classic meets something new. I’ve always been inspired by juxtapositions, so that was really fun to explore.”
4. Go back to your earliest influences. “My parents listened to a lot of classic music, so I did grow up hearing stuff like that. But I went and looked for it on my own as I got older, and when I found it, I got really inspired by it.”
5. Embrace all the sounds of your past. “I was on a huge Bee Gees kick going into making this album. I was kind of like thinking, ’I love the Bee Gees, and I love Sade, so what would it sound like if they made a country album?’” Her answer to that is the just-released, disco-drenched “High Horse” she wrote with Trent Dabbs and Thomas Schleiter.
6. Get out of the city. “We wanted something a little different that was away from the rat race of the typical Music-Row-feeling studio. Those have their places and uses, but I just wanted to mentally go somewhere else,” she said of their trip to Sheryl Crow’s studio to record the album. “And Sheryl was so sweet and let us come and set up shop in her home studio. It’s a horse stable with a studio above it, and it’s just nestled away in this quiet naturistic place. That definitely influenced the vibe of the album. It was very cool. It was such a tranquil place to make music.”
Golden Hour is out on Friday (March 30).
1. “Slow Burn”
2. “Lonely Weekend”
4. “Oh, What a World”
6. “Love Is a Wild Thing”
7. “Space Cowboy”
8. “Happy & Sad”
9. “Velvet Elvis”
10. “Wonder Woman”
11. “High Horse”
12. “Golden Hour”
Musgraves will be on the road with Little Big Town through May, and then she’ll be joining Harry Styles for select dates throughout his tour of the U.S. and Canada.