Kacey Musgraves is the kind of person you want to hang with. She’s smart and smart-alecky, charming and mischievous, clever and wacky. She might get you into trouble but she is quick-witted enough to get you out of the jam.
And then she’ll probably write a song about what happened. Musgraves, 26, can craft a terrific country song and deliver it with palpable sincerity and a disarming wink.
For 95 minutes Friday night, the award-winning and critically acclaimed Nashville newcomer charmed a full house at the State Theatre, which was no small feat because she doesn’t really have the kind of material that lends itself to headlining a concert in a “fancy, sit-down place,” as she called it. (Her previous Twin Cities appearances have been as opening act in arenas for Lady Antebellum and for Katy Perry.)
With only one major-label album to her credit, Musgraves has some outstanding listening music (she can turn a phrase) but not enough up-tempo tunes to vary the pace and texture. So she turned to some covers, including “These Boots Are Made for Walking” (which fit her fine) and “Here You Come Again” (which felt like karaoke). “Mama’s Broken Heart,” which she wrote for Miranda Lambert, was a perfect pick.
Maybe her most canny musical move was asking the audience to choose between Britney Spears and TLC. With the trio winning, Musgraves delivered a buoyant sing-along version of TLC's "No Scrubs," which had no connection to the rest of Musgraves' repertoire but it was an appealingly odd diversion.
What really perked up the show was Musgraves’ personality and patter. She reminisced about having spent her birthday last August roller skating in Burnsville. Then when she mentioned that she’d been in Wisconsin on Thursday, the crowd booed. She quickly realized that there must be a Wisconsin/Minnesota rivalry (wondering out loud if it was sports related) and teased about it the rest of the night by whispering “Wisconsin” at unexpected moments.
She’s a fun and funny one, that Texan is.
Performing with musicians dressed in rhinestones and Christmas lights on a kitschy stage spiked with neon cactuses and sandalwood incense, Musgraves offered most of the songs from the Grammy-winning “Same Trailer Different Park,” including the modest hits “Merry Go Round” and “Follow Your Arrow,” as well as a handful of new numbers.
While still playfully pushing her progressive social agenda with her new lyrics, she connected with “High Time” (nice pun) and “Biscuits” about minding your own biscuits and your life will be gravy.
After she explained what inspired “Five Finger Discount” (her housemate stealing her clothes and jewelry while she was on tour and posting selfies wearing the stuff), the song was twice as funny. How can you resist a line like “I know you stole my panties because I have the matching bra”?
Opening the concert was the Alabama indie duo John and Jacob, two sharp-dressed men in matching maroon suits (which their three backup musicians wore, too) with nice harmonies, cutesy choreography and commendable pop-country tunes.