This interesting press release rolled through my inbox yesterday: Kacey Musgraves is releasing Follow Your Arrow as the third single off her critically acclaimed major label debut, Same Trailer Different Park.
The song is already a favorite of many music writers who called it a standout on an outstanding album for its bouncy tune and live-and-let-live lyrics that advocate things like marijuana use and same-sex relationships “if that’s what you’re into,” and not caring what anyone says about it. It was striking to hear on an album in the country genre, largely seen as a conservative market in recent years (except when it comes to traditional vices like drinking and sex).
But it will be really interesting to hear how Follow Your Arrow plays on country radio, a format that remains extremely influential in its genre.
In an interview with radio.com, Musgraves said she hopes the audience gets her message.
““I think it’s definitely time for those issues to be accepted in country music — I mean it’s 2013,” she said. “Regardless of your political beliefs, everybody should be able to love who they want to love and live how they want to live. We’re all driven by the same emotions; we all want to be loved and want to feel the same things. So, hopefully people will put aside their personal, political agenda and just agree with that fact.”
In that same interview, she cited Kentucky’s Loretta Lynn as an inspiration for pushing boundaries in country music.
Musgraves is not the only artist pushing the genre, as Brad Paisley has become known for rattling stereotypes in his music. And radio in general has been open to some pointed messages this year, particularly Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ Same Love, which professes unabashed support of gay marriage. That song was written in part out of Macklemore’s own frustration with anti-gay attitudes in the hip-hop community. The song reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been a Top 40 radio staple through the summer.
So now, here is a new voice, all of 25 years old, in country challenging some ideas and maybe some preconceptions about the country audience. Musgraves isn’t quite taking country by storm the way Macklemore has dominated pop radio, though Same Trailer debuted at No. 1 on the country charts and the first single, Merry Go ’Round (a cynical take on some country stereotypes) made the Top 10 in country airplay.
It’ll be interesting to watch the charts to see how high Follow Your Arrow shoots.