Last week I got a friend request on Facebook from someone in Nashville who I didn’t recognise, and as I’m fussy about who I accept as a friend on Facebook I didn’t accept straight away. I did the natural next thing, and Googled this person, only to find they work for a music management company who represent, among others, Kacey Musgraves. My immediate thought was that they must have read my review of her record store gig in April and maybe I will be involved in something for her upcoming tour in October? Might sound crazy but I was contacted by Lady Antebellum’s PR company to review their latest album after I reviewed their Own The Night World Tour Blu-ray.
With this in mind I accepted the request and within minutes had a message to say that as a fan of Kacey’s they had some news for me, and could I email them. At this stage in the proceedings I was on my laptop and saw there was an earlier message from said individual, but when you are not friends the private messages get logged in other, which the app version of Facebook doesn’t show you. Thank goodness I accepted that friend request, as it turned out the news was me, and a couple of friends, being invited to a secret gig in London taking place yesterday, August 13th. The secrecy was emphasised and we were not to talk about it or mention it on social media until after the gig. I of course adhered to that – why would I jeopardise the opportunity to see one of my favourite singers live, and in such an exclusive setting.
It wasn’t until 3.30pm on the day that I got an email telling me the venue, which turned out to be The Arts Club on Dover Street, spitting distance from The Ritz. Don’t worry, I’m theorising, I didn’t put it to the test. It was a press event put on by Decca Records to introduce Kacey to the music press here in the UK, and she wanted some of her fans present as well. Once inside, what was one of the more upmarket venues I’ve had the pleasure of watching a performer, I made a beeline for the table at the very front. It was actually the only table in front of the stage, but my reasons for choosing that were twofold: Selfsihly I wanted to be as close as possible, who wouldn’t? But performing in front of a room made largely of the press, I thought it would be nice for Kacey to see some fans, who knew her and her music. Okay, so it was mostly for the selfish reasons, but there was a dose of altruism too.
Unlike the aforementioned record store gig, Kacey had her full band with her, which consisted of a drummer, 3 guitarists and a lap steel guitarist. We were welcome by the guy from Decca Records, who introduced Kacey Musgraves, who the New York Times earlier in the year called The Next Big Thing From Nashville. She looked slightly nervous, but you wouldn’t know that from her voice and guitar playing, which as always were audio perfection. It took less than one song for Kacey to kick off her high heels and carry on barefoot, and looked much more comfortable for it. The nerves soon disappeared, and who can blame for having them in the first place – she was playing to a room of UK journalists, and this particular area of London couldn’t be more different to Nashville.
I declined the chance to take a photo of the set list which was taped to the floor before the gig started, and as I try to recall what she played I’m thinking that may have been wise. The highlight for me was Follow Your Arrow, which is not only my favourite song on her album Same Trailer Different Park, but has also become one of my favourite songs full stop, much like her whole album. Kacey smiled when we sung the parts that the crowd generally do during that song, and when I say we I mean my little group as well as other fans in attendance. Kacey gave the story behind each song, with honest and often humble delivery.
Us fans lapped up her set, and the applause from the press certainly sounded more than just polite, and at times I had to remind myself that this wasn’t just a normal gig with everyone there as followers of her music. After songs like Silver Lining, Merry Go Round, Same Trailer Different Park and Step Off, the set was rounded off with a very energetic version of My House which saw the whole band having fun on the stage which was only just big enough to contain them all. Looks like I didn’t need that set list after all, though I may have missed one and in what order they were sung I can’t be sure.
I’d be very surprised if the invited journalists weren’t as enchanted by Kacey as I have been since I first heard her album at the beginning of the year. She combines a beautiful voice with songs about real life, that you don’t have to be from Nashville to relate to. I got to chat to Kacey after the gig, and she was as charming as always, especially when I gave her the picture my 5 year old son had drawn for her. He’d wanted to come to the gig after seeing her back in April, but being 13 years below the age limit a picture would have to do.
It was fantastic to see Kacey and her band perform live, and I’m grateful to both Katie for inviting me, and Kacey for coming over and playing in the middle of her US tour. I feel slightly guilty in that I’ve seen Kacey play live twice now, and both times I’ve not had to pay. I have bought tickets to her October UK tour and will be seeing her at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire. I also bought her album on both CD and Vinyl, and being vocal about her talent to people I meet, I think I’m on the positive side of the balance sheet.
On her album she’s great and live she’s great, if you hadn’t figured it out already I’m urging you to check out Kacey Musgraves. If you know her already then you’ll be nodding in agreement. I do agree with the New York Times, though we can leave out the Nashville part, she’s simply the next big thing.