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Review: New LPs by Kacey Musgraves and Ashley McBryde



Astonishingly, there are still ball-cut bros in mainstream country reclaiming hits from market study points, while Nashville's ambitious wives remain the main engine behind the greatest creative renaissance since Willie and Waylon Shit fucked in the 70s. Kacey Musgraves heralded the new era in 2013 with her live and live hit "Follow Your Arrow"; Late last year, Newbie Ashley McBryde showed that it had legs with hope-in-hard times "A small pub in Dahlonega." Every woman has a new record that supports this renaissance by following her own arrow.

The title song by McBrydes Girl Going Nowhere is a whispered hymn about crushing doubters. Most triumphant artists roared, paid homage, bragged, turned the bird, but in this opener, McBryde barely picks up her voice, which shakes heavily over a muted snare, guitar sounds flashing like phone screens in a dark arena. Then "Radioland" crashes in, a country rocker picking on old broadcast bliss and calling John Cougar's "Jack and Diane" and McBryde's Daddy, a rock star listening on a tractor and Townes Van Zandt hears. " (The songwriting giant Van Zandt's lack of love on the radio makes the song's vision sweeter.) "Southern Babylon" recalls the smoky country soul of Memphis, where McBryde spent time in bar bands. "Andy (I can not live without you)" represents true love as sacred pathology; "Livin 'Next to Leroy" is a Southern Rock show by a drug mate who ends up dead on his couch. McBryde has a big, vibrato-toned alto, biker chick style, and she wrote or co-wrote everything here, including "Dahlonega," with a keen eye for pervasive detail. She has a serious gift.

Ditto Musgraves, but you would not recognize the weed-loving cowgirl troublemaker from "Follow Your Arrow" on this Moony set, a relapse to Easy-Listening-Pop, which is just "country" after the loosest definition. Along with a well-known dream team of co-writers from Music City – Natalie Hemby, Hillary Lindsey, Luke Laird and Shane McAnally – and new partners Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian, the newly-married Musgraves is atypically cooing love songs; Look at the syncope title and "butterflies". But she has not lost her wit: "Northern lights in our skies / plants that grow and open your mind," she muses on "Oh, What a World," a vocoder intro that shimmers in the distance in a clunky banjo. Who knew Americana and robotic rock were one thing? Musgraves did that because how many of us dig them. Purists sniff of course. Although Golden Hour takes time to relax, the set is a fine lava lamp soundtrack, and if "Country" incorporates American musical traditions with respect and pioneering spirit, then this album is as country-like as it gets.


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