The dazzling red backdrop on Kacey Musgraves' sophomore LP Pageant Material aptly encompasses not only her barbed, boldly-electric songwriting but her Country & Western Rhinestone Revue spectacle. "I'd call it a sparkly, tongue-in-cheek take on a classic show," the two-time Grammy winner shares with The Rowdy of her new tour, which is extending into 2016 with dates all across the country—grab tickets here. Her new record, which bowed at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums with 55,000 copies earlier this summer, "was made with more of a live mindset," she says of her artistic approach to the accompanying tour. "I'm lucky to have such a solid group of hard-working people to tour with, and we have a really good time out on the road. This tour was fun to approach. Taking the songs and tweaking them to be a little different for a live set is a fun challenge. And the visuals - the visuals are almost as important as the music, for me. I like to create a little world for the music to live in while people are watching the show."
Of course, it all comes down to the setlist, too, and allowing the songs to connect to each other and to the crowd. "We've mapped out a nice flow for the set list but I'm always open to change and the more you play out, the better picture you get for what feels right. I'm still learning," she concedes. "But, I like a good balance of songs from both of my albums, some unexpected covers and little segues to break it all up. I also really love having friends with unique music out to open up the shows."
On her previous headlining dates, Musgraves mixed up a musical firestorm with pop and R&B covers. One of her stand-out moments has been her dusty cover of TLC's "No Scrubs" kiss-off, which gives the Texan a chance to flex her musical and vocal chops. Can fans expect even more such magic? Possibly. "My songs are inherently pretty country so my band and I really love the challenge of taking a non-country song and puttin' our spin on it. That being said, I also love re-inventing classic country songs too."
Pageant Material is now nearly six months old, so we had to ask her favorites to play out to her fans. "I really love playing 'Late to the Party' and 'Fine,'" she says.
The album, which follows her 2013 debut Same Trailer Different Park, a Grammy-winning set, is anchored with the cheeky "Biscuits" video, in which Musgraves duets with a purple cowboy muppet. Pondering her all-time favorite, she reveals, "Those old men that sit in the balcony and piss everybody off are my favorite muppets."