KACEY MUSGRAVES, Royal Albert Hall – Evening Standard, 19 Nov 2015

Kacey Musgraves has charm. Not many singers could persuade their all-male, heavily bearded backing band to roll up at the Albert Hall in pink suits covered in fairy lights. In her matching party dress and cowgirl boots, the 27-year-old singer looked like she usually gets her way.

A polite crowd also tolerated her being half an hour late to the stage. In any case it feels like the country world has been waiting for someone like her, now that Taylor Swift has swapped her acoustic guitar for pop megastardom and the country charts are riddled with booze ‘n’ chicks brainlessness. She’s traditional, with a sweet voice, gentle melodies and a downhome cuteness to her self-penned songs. But she also has enough of an edge to make younger folks prick up their ears, advocating casual sex and cannabis use in her prickly lyrics.

Here there was no danger from a midway talent show segment of juggling and self-whittled spoon-playing from her band, and the Texan singer was quick to compliment British accents and the prestigious venue: “I think this is the fanciest place I’ve ever been in.” Her recent second album, Pageant Material, retreats from her mild early controversies. Dimestore Cowgirl reassured her listeners that fame hasn’t changed her, while This Town extolled the virtues of living somewhere so small that it only has one Mexican restaurant.

She encroached on the pop world with covers of TLC and Coldplay, but played more to type with a version of These Boots are Made for Walkin’, complete with illuminated footwear.

The catchy single Biscuits sounded like a grandma’s catchphrase put to music: “Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy.” Life’s pretty gravy-like for this double Grammy winner right now, captivating UK audiences with a sharp take on an old sound that doesn’t always translate.

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