10 Best Country Albums of 2013

The ladies took the lead in Nashville


Kacey Musgraves, 'Same Trailer Different Park'

Kacey Musgraves, 'Same Trailer Different Park'
Courtesy of Mercury Nashville

"Follow Your Arrow," a gem of Twitter pith and Music Row craft that advocates doing your thang, joint-rolling and same-sex kissin' included, was the talking point. But what's most charming about the album and its 25-year-old Texas-bred singer/co-songwriter is how matter-of-factly Musgraves made mainstream country feel artistically fertile again. Whether singing about friend-with-benefits-ship ("It Is What It Is") or more chronic afflictions ("I drink to feel/I smoke to breathe/Just look what love/has done to me" she sings in "Stupid"), she's ballsy, unsentimental, thoroughly pop and yet totally in the tradition. Don't call her the thinking woman's Taylor Swift; call her the gen-aught Loretta Lynn.

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