Musgraves’ ‘ridiculously country’ tour visits Royal Oak

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

Kacey Musgraves ain’t pageant material.

She says so in the chorus to the title track of her new album, “Pageant Material,” the cover of which features a profile portrait of Musgraves, tiara on her head, posed in front of a glittery red curtain.

In reality, the country singer’s pageant days were very short-lived.

“I did one when I was 3 or 4,” says Musgraves, on the phone last week from a “really cute little diner” outside of St. Louis. “In our town, we have this sweet potato festival every year, and every year they crown the Sweet Potato Queen, and the little girls get to be Little Miss Tater Tot. So I tried out.

“I wanted to be her so bad, and I lost miserably, and that was the last pageant I was ever in,” says Musgraves, who grew up in Mineola, Texas, about 90 minutes east of Dallas.

The title of Miss Tater Tot alluded her, but she ended up winning a couple of Grammys instead. Musgraves, 27, snagged a pair of the statues for her 2013 breakout album “Same Trailer Different Park,” for Best Country Song (for “Merry Go Round”) and Best Country Album. (She was nominated for Best New Artist in 2014, but lost to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.)

Now she’s touring behind “Pageant Material,” which was released in June and debuted at No. 3 on Billboard’s Top 200 albums chart. The tour hits the Royal Oak Music Theatre on Thursday.

Musgraves has always been big into themes, and for the tour behind “Pageant Material” she wanted something that was fun, retro and spoke to her artistic sensibilities.

“I wanted something that was ridiculously country,” says Musgraves.

She didn’t want to call it the “Pageant Material Tour” — too boring, she says — and after toying with different names derived from song titles, she came up with: the Rhinestone Revue.

“I love rhinestones, it’s a huge part of our aesthetic, and I just kind of felt like we’re country and western, we wear rhinestones, and I like double consonants, so Rhinestone Revue, there you are,” she says.

As for making it “ridiculously country?” She says, “I love country music, and I feel like these days in country music, it’s kind of rare for the really country music boundary to be pushed. Country music sometimes isn’t super country these days. I just love traditional country music so much, and putting my younger fresh take on it. That’s how I roll.”

Musgraves wrote the bulk of “Pageant Material” during a break from touring last fall, when she and a handful of writers — including Luke Laird, Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne — hunkered down for a 10-day writing session at a ranch in Texas.

They took the songs to Nashville and began recording just before the holidays. During those sessions the album began taking shape, as Musgraves found inspiration in old photos of beauty pageant contestants in the late 1960s.

Musgraves doesn’t do a lot of writing on the road, so for now she’s focusing on the Rhinestone Revue that she’ll be taking to Europe in November.

“Really I just try to be present and focus on today. I don’t like to think too far in the future, it trips me out,” she says.

Kacey Musgraves

with Sugar & the Hi Lows

6:30 p.m. Thursday

Royal Oak Music Theatre

318 W. Fourth, Royal Oak

Tickets: $29.50 advance, $35 at the door

(248) 399-2980 or