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Kacey Musgraves Previews 2024 Tour, With 'Deeper Well' Hitting Arenas

Kacey Musgraves’ arrow is leading her into U.S. arenas this fall, where she’ll be doing a show rooted in her new album, “Deeper Well,” which, as the title indicates, is about embracing the realness of life. Is that a message and a mood that will carry over into a setting more often associated with big-scale surface pleasures? She’s confident the vibe will indeed translate from the grooves to the loges — for, as she puts it, “I think that you can have quote-unquote ‘bops’ in many different ways.”

The tour has just gone on sale, and the album is out Friday — to be preceded Thursday night, for American Express cardholders in New York, by “A Conversation with Kacey Musgraves: A Look Into ‘Deeper Well,'” a presentation being held at Webster Hall. Variety didn’t go quite as deep with her about the album as the NYC event undoubedtly will, but we briefly chatted with the country-folk-pop sensation on the eve of her tour’s on-sale date about what she foresees for the fall outing, and which season(s) she believes the new record is most in line with.

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You proved with the “Star-Crossed” tour that you can headline arenas and make music that is largely based in reflection work in those spaces.

My ultimate goal here is to make an arena feel as intimate as possible. I think that’s a challenge in a room that is massive and made of concrete, and there are people physically sitting very far away from you when you’re performing. It’s my goal to make everyone feel welcome and to create a world that feels really beautiful and memorable to see live. And also, I think from the second that Nickel Creek, who are opening all the shows, and then our other openers, Lord Huron and Father John Misty, step on stage, it’s gonna be a night of extremely, extremely beautiful music. I’m a huge fan of all the acts that are gonna be out there with me.

It’s unusual to see this potent a triple bill, where you have two openers each night who are very established and have been headlining for years on their own at least at the theater level.

I wanted to create a musical moment that felt like a little mini-festival that I personally would want to go to. I’m such a fan of all these musicians for different reasons, but I think they’re all authentically themselves and have created worlds that look and sound so beautiful. Nickel Creek, I’ve been a fan of since I was maybe 12 or 13 years old, so they’ve been a part of my life for a long time and I’ve always admired them. And I mean, Lord Huron, just their vibe, it’s one of my favorites, and I’ve been a fan of Father John for a really long time too. So, I think each act brings something really different, but I think that there’s like a nice bridge between them all, you know?

You’ve got European dates in May, and then you take a break from tour until Labor Day, and pretty much the day after that, whoosh, you’re out there on the road for the rest of the year in the U.S. Is fall just when it made the most sense to do the American bookings, or is there any sense in your mind that autumn is actually like a good time to go see this music? You’ve got the album for spring and tour for fall, the slightly off-summer seasons, and maybe that’s not coincidental?

I know. As of now, my summer is off, and I’m kind of skeptical of that. I’m not sure it’s really gonna be off. But no, this record is very spring- and summer-centric for me. It was honestly sort of hard to figure out when I wanted to release it, because this music feels like both seasons to me. But there’s sort of an element of growth, of rebirth, (reflected in) the album coming out near the spring equinox. There’s all the baby animal-like spring energy in a lot of the imagery. As for the tour, there’s sort of an inward turn whenever fall comes and the season’s changing and you’re kind of preparing to take it a little bit slower, and I think that element is in this music too.

A lot of people who know they’re touring at the arena level gravitate toward that feeling of, “I’ve really gotta load up my album with some rockers or some dance songs to get the crowd raging.” And it doesn’t seem like this album is driven by that kind of thinking, any more than others were. You must have developed this faith that you don’t have to deliberately think about riling up an arena crowd with token rabble-rousers when you’re setting a mood with an album.

Right. It’s gonna translate, without me worrying about that. I’m not sure anyone has really come to my music for BPMs anyways. There’s a few that stick out above a certain mid-tempo-like BPM, but I’ve never really been overly concerned with tempo. I think that you can have quote-unquote “bops” in many different ways. Like, “Rainbow” is a ballad, but it could be considered a bop! You know what I mean? There’s just different kinds of bops for different reasons. And I’ll make sure that there’s good energy during the show, but I’m not super overly concerned with it. It’s funny, I was talking to a friend the other day and I was like, “I know the gays want their uptempo anthems; that’s what the kids want. But what if this record isn’t really giving them that?” And he’s like, “Kacey, the gays and the kids don’t come to your records for that. They come to you for something else.” And I was like, “OK, you’re right.”

There’ve been two teaser songs out, “Deeper Well” and “Too Good to Be True.” There’s a lot of contentment in those two songs, but “Deeper Well” is more pure in the surety of that contentment, maybe, and then “Too Good to Be True” is about feeling it with just a little bit of uncertainty around the edges. But both give a sense the album is going to be about a good vibe.

I thought they were good representations of different sides of the record. It is really a record of multi-layered emotions. It’s not all happy. It’s not all sad. It’s sort of weaving in and out somewhere through the middle — with lots of gratitude and lots of appreciation, and reverence for life and the emotions that just come with being a human.

You just did those two songs on “SNL.” How did you feel about the experience this time?

“SNL” and all TV performances are always riddled with anxiety for me. And it was really cool because this time I was able to really ground and harness a lot of that anxiety that would normally overtake me. I think that’s probably something that a lot of people probably wouldn’t guess about me — that I can really have a lot of performance anxiety in those type of situations. But I felt more grounded than ever and I was able to really enjoy the experience, which is what it’s all about. I can easily walk away from a lot of those high-pressure situations not having enjoyed it until they’re over, and this time was different, and I felt like I was really able to enjoy it, and that made me really happy.

There were some headlines about “wardrobe malfunction,” but it didn’t turn out to be so scandalous — it was that you, yourself, had posted that you left a hair clip in when you left the dressing room to go out for the final bow. Most everyone who noticed it probably thought it was a deliberate sort of asymmetrical look.

Yeah, definitely an oversight. Me and my team were so detail-oriented. It was just really funny to me that literally no one caught the fact that I still had this clip in there that just like wasn’t supposed to be there. But, you know — it was real.

Thinking back about the tour — you’ve definitely had “light one up” anthems over the years, from “Follow Your Arrow” to “Slow Burn.” But the song “Deeper Well” is about no longer feeling like you need that as a daily crutch or habit. When you play that live, do you think people will still be lighting one up, even though you’re singing about, oh, I can do without this?

That’s so funny. I mean, to each their own. If they feel like it, go ahead!

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