Kacey Musgraves: Deeper Well – Politically aware and personally revealing, this one’s a genuine grower

Deeper Well features Musgraves taking another creative turn. Ring it up as another jewel in the crown

Deeper Well
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Artist: Kacey Musgraves
Genre: Folk/pop
Label: MCA Nashville/Interscope

Six albums in, Kacey Musgraves has come a very long way from her tween duo Texas Two Bits, winning a national yodelling championship, self-releasing a debut solo album at the age of 14, and singing on other artists’ demo recordings. Like Taylor Swift, albeit with not as much hoopla, Musgraves has altered the perception of country music as a preserve of 10-gallon-hatted and rhinestone-bejewelled people singing about their hearts being stomped on.

Admittedly, Musgraves’s career beginnings were close enough to that stereotype, but since her 2013 official studio debut, Same Trailer Different Park, she hasn’t been backwards in coming forwards about topics such as safe sex, LGBTQ acceptance, religion, divorce and recreational use of marijuana. That debut album’s key track, Follow Your Arrow, ruffled country-music conservatives with lyrics as forthright as “make lots of noise, kiss lots of boys, or kiss lots of girls if that’s something you’re into … Follow your arrow wherever it points”.

The multiple Grammy winner, whose music has been streamed more than a billion times, has since taken her own advice and gone wherever she felt she needed to make her points, including making music with Willie Nelson, Katy Perry and Harry Styles.

Deeper Well is part of that trajectory – and a very pleasant surprise is that it features Musgraves taking yet another creative turn. The title track lays it out: “I’m saying goodbye to the people that I feel are real good at wasting my time. No regrets, baby.”


Revolving around that song are 13 other soul-searchers that have fragrant hints of Laurel Canyon about them. The album’s opening track, Cardinal, could be a Mamas and Papas tune, The Architect is one of those gorgeous acoustic strums accompanied by lyrics that analyse the existence of a higher power (“Does it happen by chance, is it all happenstance, do we have any say in this mess?”), and Giver-Taker looks at the selflessness/selfishness divide in relationships (“If I could take only as much as I needed, I would take everything you have”).

Deeper Well is an acoustic folk/pop grower, by turns rhythmically soft, politically aware and personally revealing. Ring it up as another jewel in the crown.

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture