It’s not often that one comes across a debut album that stands out amongst the clutter of artists screaming to be heard. It’s really not often in Country Music for such an album to come from a new female artist, at least the past decade or so. It’s just extremely hard to break out on a major label with a record that sounds gleefully as independent and on point as Kacey Musgraves’ Mercury Nashville debut Same Trailer Different Park.
“Silver Lining” and “My House” both have a uniqueness to them that’s identifiable. Instead of kicking off the record with a song that is uptempo and loud guitars, “Silver Lining” opens Same Trailer Different Park with a sound that mixes breezy summery sounds of the 1970s with some melodies from the 1960s countrypolitan into an intoxicating melody about taking chances in life (“if you wanna find a honey, you have to look past the bees”.) “My House” may share qualities that many will associate with Miranda Lambert (whose single at the time of this album’s release – “Mama’s Broken Heart” – was written by Kacey) but they’re still uniquely Kacey Musgraves. This is a simple story song about is all about making life with the one you love, no matter where that life is.
The minor keys and percussion that serves as the haunting intro to “Dandelion” lends an elegance to the track while the record’s second single “Blowin’ Smoke” features an interesting story about how we all say we’re gonna do things and change our lives but we end up not doing it. It’s honest and real, unlike so much of Today’s music. “I Miss You” mixes pretty vocal melodies with interesting production that makes it really stand out while “Back On The Map” finds interesting vocal production (a slight echo) and a contemporary pop-leaning musical map that just blends well, the same which can be said for “Keep It To Yourself.”
Quirky attitude comes out in both “Step Off” and the boot stompin’ “Stupid.” Both could be potential radio singles at some point. I also would have no problem with “Follow Your Arrow” becoming a single on country radio – it’s really a message that needs to be on radio – but it’s possible that it’s ‘too liberal’ in such a politicized world that thinks nearly everyone in Country Music are conservatives. The problem with those theories is that they’re missing the real message of this song, it’s a song that people need to hear and getting airplay would be a great way to do that.
Lead single “Merry Go Round” was one of my favorite singles released in 2012 and it eventually went Gold (as of the writing of this review) and hit the Top 10, only the second female artist to hit Top 10 with their debut single since Taylor Swift in 2006 (Jana Kramer’s 2012 hit “Why Ya Wanna” being the other). Closing out the record is a downright traditional-leaning track “It It Is What It Is.” It reminds me of Lee Ann Womack in places but is pretty laid-back and ‘slow’ compared to other songs on this record and the radio but features a wonderful steel guitar solo that makes for a nice waltz to dance to.
Working with frequent co-writers Luke Laird and Shane McAnally in the producer seats, Musgraves delivers a Tapestry for Modern Country Music. There’s nothing on Same Trailer Different Park that doesn’t work, a rare feat for any album, let alone a debut album circa 2013. Kacey Musgraves is a star andSame Trailer Different Park is a game-changer of an album.