Everything We Know About Kacey Musgraves’ ‘Pageant Material’
With two Grammys under her belt for her debut album, Same Trailer Different Park, Kacey Musgraves has fans eagerly awaiting her sophomore record, Pageant Material.
Musgraves is known for songs that combine her unabashed honesty with tongue-in-cheek references and insightful dialogue about life as she sees it -- and Pageant Material will have all of that and more. The Texas-bred gal has grown in the past two years, in vocals and fame, experiences and road miles, and that makes her forthcoming record all the more exciting.
The title, Pageant Material, is also the fourth track of Musgraves' upcoming record.
""Pageant Material" is a satirical song poking fun of myself for being a real human," Musgraves explains of the song to Entertainment Weekly. “After writing [it], I could instantly see this hazy, slightly off-kilter, retro pageant world. I’m a super visual person, and I thought not only that it was a great song but that it would make for great aesthetic, especially because I come from the South."
The Release Date
Pageant Material is set for release on June 23, 2015. It is available for pre-order at MyPlayDirect.com.
The Record Label
Musgraves' sophomore record will be released by Mercury Nashville, the same label that released her debut album.
Musgraves is prominently featured on the album's cover. A shiny red backdrop visually stuns against her profile shot, and her dark hair is teased, with a gleaming tiara resting atop her tresses. The colors are muted but make an impact -- and the cover was purposefully shot that way, by the singer's sister.
"It's really cool! It's kind of retro ... It's got a lot of muted tones," Musgraves says. "I'm always inspired by '60s fashion and music. That plays a part into everything that I do. I'll say two words: big hair."
"Biscuits," Musgraves' first single from the album, is the "perfect preview" to the record, she says. "The sound of this song represents so many of the things I love about country music. And be warned — it may inspire a square dance."
Musgraves, Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally put their heads together for this tune. It's similar to "Follow Your Arrow" -- which the trio also wrote together -- because it's also about living your own life instead of worrying about how others are living, but "Biscuits" is even more pointed: "Just hoe your own row and raise your own babies / Smoke your own smoke and grow your own daisies," Musgraves sings in the chorus. "Mend your own fences and own your own crazy / Mind your own biscuits, and life will be gravy."
With a song like that, one probably wonders how it came to be: over a few biscuits at Loveless Cafe? In the middle of a night over a few beers? As McAnally explains, “Here’s what happened: We had started this song when we wrote “Follow Your Arrow.” ‘[Mind your own biscuits]‘ was something we had said in another songwriting thing ..."
“We were like, ‘That has to be a song, the whole idea,’ and so we saved it,” Musgraves continues. “I feel like it was Brandy, because she’s like, if there’s a puzzle piece missing in a song, she’s just, like, infamous for [saying], ‘You know, this may not work, but what about this?’ And it always works. It’s mind blowing. You’re like, ‘Oh, you just pulled this out of your little pocket there?’
“[McAnally] said, ‘Mind your own biscuits,’ and [Clark] said, ‘And life will be gravy,’” Musgraves adds. “And I was like, ‘I quit. Bye. Brandy, get out. You’re too good.’
“So a lot of people ask about the inspiration behind it,” the 26-year-old concludes, “and all I have to say is, it’s just good ol’ plum country fun.”
Musgraves released a lyric video for "Biscuits" in early June. The official music video, which she released shortly after the lyric video, is “Hee Haw meets Pee Wee’s Playhouse meets Wes Anderson,” according to Musgraves.
Musgraves has openly spoken about "Biscuits" and "Pageant Material," and there are a few other songs on the 13-track album she's really looking forward to sharing with fans. One, in particular, has an especially sentimental draw for her.
“I’m really excited for people to hear the song "This Town," she says. “It was complete serendipity that I got to use a recording of my late grandmother’s voice that I found for the intro of that song. I also really love "Family Is Family" and "Late to the Party.""
Musgraves debuted "Family Is Family" on Late Night With Seth Meyers on June 10.
Kacey Musgraves, Pageant Material Track Listing:
1. “High Time”
2. “Dime Store Cowgirl”
3. “Late to the Party”
4. “Pageant Material”
5. “This Town”
7. “Somebody to Love”
9. “Die Fun”
10. “Family Is Family”
11. “Good Ol’ Boys Club”
12. “Cup of Tea”
Musgraves is a prolific songwriter herself, but she doesn't limit her records to her own ideas. For Pageant Material, she enlisted a team of writers she's worked with before: Luke Laird, McAnally and Clark.
“I’ve been really blessed to find a unique group of people to create with. Most of them wrote everything on the last record with me, and I just love our songs so much that I didn’t want to fix what wasn’t broken!” Musgraves says. “One of the things I really love about working with these people is how much we laugh! We’re constantly laughing our a–es off, so it always makes for a lighthearted atmosphere.
McAnally and Laird are co-producers on the record; they also produced Musgraves' debut album.
"Luke and Shane each bring something different to the table as producers, as well — they know my vision, but they aren’t afraid to challenge it,” says Musgraves.
The Recording Process
Pageant Material was mostly recorded live, and that's the biggest change from Same Trailer Different Park. It was an intentional move by Musgraves, who wanted to capture the energy that's present during her concerts.
“Most of the records I know and love were recorded in a live manner. When you go hear a band play a live show, you’re experiencing live energy, and I wanted to capture that spirit. It comes across differently,” she says. “We recorded most everything in a big circle in one of my favorite old studios on the planet — historic RCA Studio A in Nashville. That lent itself to the record having that concise feel that we wanted. Then we added a 10-piece string section later."
They didn't just get into the studio space and record; they also set it up similar to show -- props and all.
“We dressed the space with my signature neon cacti and serapes, and everybody wore plastic crowns — the musicians were made up of a mix of my band and some of my other all-time favorite musical personalities,” Musgraves recalls. “It was important for me to implement how I sound on the road into this project.”
Some artists might get hit with writer's block or not be able to quite figure out what to say, but not Musgraves.
“I didn’t really find it hard to find much to say. That’s probably just the nature of me," she admits. "A lot of times, I’ll be having an argument or a conversation with someone, and I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s a lyric!’ Then I think, ‘Focus back on the conversation.' Or it’s stuff my parents, sister or friends have gone through. I could see a sign and think, ‘Oh, that’s an interesting perspective.'”
In addition to everyday life inspirations, Musgraves was also deeply inspired by some of country's greatest men.
"I was really inspired by a lot of the classic records and artists I love: Glen Campbell, Jim Croce, Bobbie Gentry, Marty Robbins, Roger Miller, Charley Pride," Musgraves tells Entertainment Weekly. "Records that set an even tone throughout are ones that I usually gravitate towards."
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