Kacey Musgraves is a master songwriter, singer and musician. But did you know she is also an accomplished cover artist? It's true. During her own headlining shows, including 2015-26's Country & Western Rhinestone Revue (grab tickets here), and her opening slots, she is no stranger to pulling out all the stops for the show and offering up some pop, R&B and throwback traditional covers (just for fun). She is one of the few mainstream artists capable and creative enough to turn songs from TLC to Loretta Lynn into delightful masterpieces.
As her star begins to glow ever brighter, her high-profile gigs have increased. She's been featured on the Opry stage numerous times, been enlisted for primetime countdown events and hit the road with glossy-pop superstar Katy Perry. Along the way, she has never lost her artistic integrity or her identity; when she takes on someone else's song, she reinvents the arrangement to complimenting her feathery style.
Below, The Rowdy counts down Musgraves best cover performances to-date:
Taking it back more than a decade, Musgraves (country) facelifts an alt-rock smash. It's a cool, calm and collected cover, a perfect way to jumpstart this list. It's evident her musical influences run far and wide; she grounds herself in the lyrics, no matter how offbeat the selection actually is. Impressive!
The King of Rock 'N Roll could be tender when he wanted to be. Musgraves channels her artistic vision and funnels her vocal into this magical cover performance, during a stop at the Grand Ole Opry. Truth be told, rock, soul and country have often paralleled throughout the years, and this is an especially poignant reminder of that.
Backed by only a banjo (after a technical difficulty) and the jangle of her tambourine, Musgraves hones in on living up to one of the greatest female rock vocalists of all time. Her voice lilts and floats across the longing of the lyrics, in which the narrator wishes for material things to distract her from her own life. A stunning performance.
During a run at the Royal Albert Hall in London, the country star reimagined this pop-rock hit. It takes quite a bit of effort to change up a song like this, and Musgraves flexes her musical chops but sticks to a straightforward vocal delivery.
And the Britney Army around the world squeals with delight. Everyone knows how iconic the pop diva is, so it makes it that much more delicious to hear Musgraves give it a traditional tilt. The original bop is dusted with a haunting, western smoke, and gives the interpreter license to experiment with the melody and vocal line. Really outstanding.
This song has been covered hundreds of times throughout history. Musgraves' version is certainly not as ethereal as Annie Lennox's, but she gives the lyrics a new potency only she could give. It's often the singer's simplicity that makes songs even more compelling than the originals.
Talk about a curve ball. But who couldn't love a little TLC in their earbuds? As a product of the '90s, a cover of one of the biggest, boldest and sexiest girl trios of the decade isn't too far off the mark. As you can hear from the crowd's reaction, crossover works tremendously for Musgraves.
Musgraves is a torchbearer for the gritty singer-songwriter template first founded by the incomparable Loretta. If there were anyone in today's market that could pull this song off, it would be this Texas powerhouse. The song is a relaxed fit message about never losing one's roots in the face of superstardom, something Musgraves knows all too well. When Loretta later joins in, it is a match made in heaven.
This country classic, too, has been covered by everyone from Loretta to pop megastar Jessica Simpson (who did attempt her own country career with 2008's Do You Know album). This brokenhearted kiss-off is feisty and fits right in Musgraves' wheelhouse.
The late-greate Patsy is the litmus test by which all other female vocalists are judged. Musgraves' tone is significantly lighter, but it is her emotion she pours in that seals the deal on one of the greatest country songs ever written.
Grab tickets for the Country & Western Rhinestone Revue right here.