Bonnaroo 2013: Kacey Musgraves Follows Her Arrow (With A Tambourine, No Less)

Sam Lansky | June 17, 2013 7:29 am

There was a solid crowd at Kacey Musgraves‘ set at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on Sunday afternoon, but that’s no surprise considering the commercial success and critical acclaim the country singer-songwriter has seen over the last year: Her songs are so impeccably crafted, taking all the old cliches of country music and rendering them fresh again.

Her hourlong set was peppered with colorful commentary — she noted that it was her first time playing Bonnaroo, but her second time at the festival, since she “snuck in once before for a Nine Inch Nails concert — but I don’t remember much of it.” (No surprise there.) Before launching into her be-yourself anthem “Follow Your Arrow,” she said: “If you’re here at Bonnaroo, you probably like it when people of all kinds come together and just do whatever the hell they want.” The crowd liked that.

But the music, as ever, is where Musgraves really shines. From the weary small-town sadness of her breakout single “Merry Go ‘Round” to the inverted optimism of “Silver Lining,” she performed much of her debut LP Same Trailer Different Park as well as a string of diverse covers. The two best were probably the two most different: Miranda Lambert‘s “Mama’s Broken Heart” — a song which Musgraves wrote — and Weezer‘s “Island In the Sun.” From her performance, it seemed like it was just a song she loved a lot.