Music review: Kacey Musgraves, Academy, Glasgow

US star Kacey Musgraves channelled old school country glamour for this Glasgow show, writes Fiona Shepherd

Kacey Musgraves, Academy, Glasgow ***

For the first of two sold out nights at the Academy, multi-award winning country singer Kacey Musgraves has brought the dry ice and an eight-piece band whose kit can just about squeeze onto the Academy stage. Musgraves, meanwhile, was channelling some old school country glamour with her big backcombed hair and white cowboy boots though the 12-string guitar and airy harmonies of her opening number Cardinal were more English pastoral prog than Nashville diva.

Sound and vision came together on fragrant retro country pop number Heart of the Woods, with its Bobbie Gentry/Skeeter Davis style, while Sway was arrayed with ultra-mellow pedal steel guitars, congas and breathy backing vocals for that beach luau feel.

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Kacey Musgraves PIC: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for ABAKacey Musgraves PIC: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for ABA
Kacey Musgraves PIC: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for ABA

Musgraves noted that the crowd were ready to party and a pint of cold beer was proffered by one keen fan but her vibe is cooler, more thoughtful, taking in the winsome pop of Butterflies and the outright easy listening of Lonely Millionaire.

There was a mild injection of lyrical edge as she reflected on the continuing relevance of Follow Your Arrow, with its message to resist social conservatism and hypocrisy, before moving the musical dial slightly with the Celtic melody and martial drums of Heaven Is. It clearly took a lot of musicians to make a sound this measured but her band briefly cut loose and whipped up the sonic storm from which Rainbow emerged. One of her most popular songs, its standard cutesiness was tempered by her beautiful Karen Carpenter-like vocal.

Giant balloons were released, bouncing around the hall somewhat unnecessarily as the set moved to its conclusion with the summer funk sound of High Horse and a gorgeous countrified take on Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds which chimed well with Musgraves’ gently encouraging style.

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