With a diamond saddle serving as a mirror ball behind her, Musgraves first delivered the disco-tinged pop-country song "High Horse" at Studio 8H. Later in the episode, Musgraves returned to perform Golden Hour's cosmic country opener "Slow Burn."
Musgraves is only the second country artist to serve as musical guest during SNL's 43rd season, following Chris Stapleton in January.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Musgraves said of Golden Hour's "space country" sound, "It was a bit of a riddle to figure out in making sure that my spirit isn't lost and also trying to find a new sound for me, because I am still so attached to the parts of country music that I love and that have gotten people familiar with me. I don't need to pander around and try to make some random pop album just for the shit of it."
The singer added, "It would be really hard for me to label this as just a country album. The goal for this record was to sound great when you're sitting there at 2:00 a.m. thinking about everything. It's a melting pot of many different influences that have come together. I've always loved Sade, but I also love Dolly Parton and traditional country music. I thought there's got to be a world where all these things can live together harmoniously – a place where futurism meets traditionalism. I still love steel guitar and banjo, but I thought it would be dope if we put that with a vocoder and explored that world."
The 43rd season of SNL will conclude next Saturday with host Tina Fey and musical guest Nicki Minaj.