Kacey Musgraves

Golden Hour (Mercury)

Texas Platters

Kacey Musgraves could've been Swiftified or Cyrused. The country-pop crossover star is a cultural phenomenon familiar enough to border on trope at this point. So the vocoders on the disco-drenched "High Horse," Musgraves' breakout single from third release Golden Hour, spiked anxiety she was headed down that well-trodden path. After such a lobotomy-proof indulgence, the East Texan promptly turns the rest of her attention, and Golden Hour, back to the explorations of a great country record, even if she doesn't have the same take on the genre as she did on her 2013 debut. There are hints of Sufjan Stevens ("Slow Burn"), followed by touches of dreamy Seventies folk-rock ("Lonely Weekend"). There are drum-machine beats ("Happy & Sad"). And yet throughout, the 29-year-old Lone Star ambassador tucks the hallmarks of her roots – winsome steel guitar, rambling banjo, acoustic guitar – into genre-hopping, the elements present and persistent enough to make the album, at its core, country. Purists will disagree, but if anyone insists on calling this Musgraves' crossover, they must admit this: Golden Hour is a crossover done right. (Kacey Musgraves tapes Austin City Limits at the Moody Theater on June 6.)

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