Kacey Musgraves' Picks & Perks

Kacey Musgraves first showed up on our radar as a fresh-out-of-high school contender on Nashville Star. From the same area in Texas as her pal and previous contestant Miranda Lambert, Kacey didn't fit into the show, but her talent was obvious.

Fast forward to the happiest, most unlikely success story of the year. After several independent releases, Musgraves teamed with songwriter/producer Shane McAnally. They made a record that didn't sound like it could get played on the radio, and led off with an unflinching look at the desperateness of small town life. "Merry Go 'Round" struck a chord -- in fact Katy Perry called it "one [of] the most uniquely honest written songs of 2012." Suddenly, Kacey ...Expand »

Kacey Musgraves first showed up on our radar as a fresh-out-of-high school contender on Nashville Star. From the same area in Texas as her pal and previous contestant Miranda Lambert, Kacey didn't fit into the show, but her talent was obvious.

Fast forward to the happiest, most unlikely success story of the year. After several independent releases, Musgraves teamed with songwriter/producer Shane McAnally. They made a record that didn't sound like it could get played on the radio, and led off with an unflinching look at the desperateness of small town life. "Merry Go 'Round" struck a chord -- in fact Katy Perry called it "one [of] the most uniquely honest written songs of 2012." Suddenly, Kacey was everywhere.

The media loves our pot-smoking, nose-ring-wearing country girl, and so do the voters that make up the Country Music Association. She has been nominated for a staggering six awards, including two in the Song of the Year category. Her single "Follow Your Arrow" advises, "Say what you think, love who you love … when the straight and narrow gets a little too straight, roll up a joint (I would) and follow your arrow wherever it points." Like a modern day Loretta Lynn, Kacey writes what she knows, cautionary tales about the boredom that leads to stupid things (like marrying your first boyfriend or sleeping with a good friend because there's nothing better to do). Her lyrics are intimate, and so is her voice, like she's talking girlfriend to girlfriend. Some have dubbed Kacey "The Future of Country Music." We sure hope so.

Here, Kacey made us a playlist of songs she likes so much, she covers them -- or plays the originals while folks are waiting -- at her shows. These we are calling her "picks." We've also included some extras on the playlist -- her duet with Josh Abbot, "Oh Tonight," and songs she's written for Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Gretchen Wilson and the Nashville soundtrack ("Undermine," a companion piece to Same Trailer, Different Park's "Step Off") -- which we are calling "perks."

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