“Do you guys realize what this means for country music?” said Kacey Musgraves from the stage of the CMA Awards upon winning Song of the Year for “Follow Your Arrow.” Although she didn’t go into detail, it was clear she was referencing the song’s lyrics about smoking marijuana and same-sex relationships, topics typically taboo in country music. In fact, the line about rolling up a joint was censored during her live performance of “Arrow” at last year’s CMAs.
Written by Musgraves with Shane McAnally and Brandy Clark, who was also up for New Artist of the Year at tonight’s ceremony (she lost to Brett Eldredge), “Follow Your Arrow” was polarizing in its content. Yet not enough to keep the twangy anthem from being named Song of the Year.
“I think I can speak for all of us when I say that this award means so much because our genre was built on simple, good songs about real life. And that’s what this was,” Musgraves said. “And it was because of the fans that connected with it who spread it and took it farther than I ever could.”
With the win, Musgraves and Clark are two of only 14 women who’ve taken CMA Song of the Year honors. It’s Clark’s first-ever CMA victory. “When I came off stage, Vince Gill grabbed me and said, ‘You just won the biggest award you can ever win. I know, I’ve won them all and this one means the most to me.’ That about sums it up!” she says.
Musgraves also performed one of the musical highlights of the CMA Awards so far: a surprise duet with Loretta Lynn on Lynn’s “You’re Looking at Country” in front of the famous Grand Ole Opry backdrop.