On her tour bus parked across from Santander Arena in Reading, Pa., Kacey Musgraves has created a little oasis from the nor’easter-induced chill outside: a bouquet of tiny pink roses, a giant white geode and a burned-to-the-quick Jenni Kayne candle adorn the table where she’s sitting. Comforts of the road, sure -- but for Musgraves, they’re also reminders that there’s magic in the world. “It can be easy to forget that right now there are literally jellyfish that light up, and plants that can change your mind, and Northern lights and shooting stars ... all these crazy beautiful things, like rainbows and shit -- you know what I mean?” she says. She holds up the geode: “This crystal grew in the earth! I’m like, what?! Aaaghhh!”
These days, Musgraves, 29, is more dreamy than she is cheeky. Later she’ll tell me about the “giant impression” psychedelics have made on her, but the reality of her life today is pretty marvelous as it is. She’s nearly midway through a 26-show run opening for country superstars Little Big Town (tomorrow, the caravan heads to Washington, D.C.), then joins Harry Styles for his U.S. dates before setting out on her own headlining Oh, What a World! Tour. And she’s about to release her third studio album, Golden Hour (March 30), a lovely, unexpectedly romantic record with two early singles, “Butterflies” and “Space Cowboy,” already hailed as among 2018’s best yet.
Her mindset was decidedly less sunny before the inspiration for Golden Hour first came to her in 2016. “I was in this lonely, not-creative place and just felt like shit about myself,” says Musgraves today on the bus, shaking her head at the memory. That changed as soon as she met singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly -- now her husband -- at Nashville’s famed Bluebird Cafe, where he was playing alongside one of her exes in a writer’s round. (When I arrived at the bus earlier, the lanky, bearded Kelly sat quietly strumming a guitar, cigarette tucked behind his ear.) She loved his songs, and her own soon followed: “I had just cleared my schedule to get back to writing when I went to that show and I met him,” says Musgraves. “Songs just immediately started pouring out.”