It's a fine time to let it all go, and bask in the (live) brilliance of Kacey Musgraves. She's a trendsetter, a beacon of hope for singer-songwriters everywhere looking for a mainstream artist to bring grounded songwriting and storytelling back into the spotlight. She's just a dime store cowgirl, but she has already amassed an impressive (and loyal) following, supported by her vastly successful headlining tours, including 2015-16's Country & Western Revue (grab tickets here) and a spot on Katy Perry's 2014 Prismatic World Tour. Ahead of Musgraves' placement on the blockbuster pop venture, she teamed up with the superstar for CMT Crossroads, an electric onstage series which brings together two very different, equally-talented musicians and songwriters for one night to cover each others' catalogs. For Perry and Musgraves, that evoked compelling interpretations of hits like "Merry Go Round" and "Keep It to Yourself" (cuts from Musgraves' debut album Same Trailer Different Park) and Perry's own smash selections like "Firework," "Roar," and "Teenage Dream."
Here, The Rowdy takes a look at the two singers' best onstage live moments, samplings from a previous collaboration, and the Crossroads event:
You wouldn't think Musgraves' decidedly-country voice would not work on such a bubblegum-pop anthem, but it works marvelously on this Perry signature. The love-strewn narrative is the title track to Perry's 2010 album, which also spawned massive Top 40 hits with "Firework," "Last Friday Night" and "The One That Got Away." It was later re-issued in 2012 to include "Wide Awake" and "Part of Me."
As Musgraves' first-ever (and only) Top 10 single, the harrowing song speaks to hurt in every heart, something even a global phenomenon like Perry can relate to. "Just like dust, we settle in this town. On this broken merry go 'round and 'round and 'round we go, where it stops nobody knows, and it ain't slowin' down, this merry go 'round," they harmonize on a tale examining small town life and beliefs.
Dousing the typically soft-rock ballad with some fluffy pop and light country instrumentation, Musgraves and Perry deliver a stunning, chill-inducing interpretation of the classic track. No one, especially not in that room, could have asked for more.
Perry not only brought out Musgraves for an explosive encore at this massive 2013 event, but she was joined by many other pop titans, such as ethereal songbird Ellie Goulding, singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, Bonnie McKee and folk-pop duo Tegan & Sara. Talk about girl power! It was evident early on that Musgraves' and Perry's friendship would become so much more.
It's Hollywood meets Nashville. Beach balls meets cacti. Stylistically, the two singers couldn't be further apart, but it is their integrity and commitment to grounded lyricism that has connected them. This Dolly cover is, perhaps, their best onstage collaboration yet, as they meld both their influences into this legendary song.
Grab tickets for the Country & Western Rhinestone Revue right here.