The Kacey Musgraves Country & Western Rhinestone Revue – Tickets – College Street Music Hall – New Haven, CT – October 23rd, 2015

The Kacey Musgraves Country & Western Rhinestone Revue

AEG LIVE-TMG PRESENTS

The Kacey Musgraves Country & Western Rhinestone Revue

Sugar & The Hi-Lows

Fri, October 23, 2015

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

$22.00 - $32.00

This event is all ages

Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves
PAGEANT MATERIAL

Two decades ago — long before Same Trailer Different Park turned her into a Grammy-winning country star with sold-out tours and Top 10 hits — Kacey Musgraves participated in her first (and only) beauty pageant.

"My hometown is pretty famous for its sweet potatoes," she says, "and every year, they hold the Golden Sweet Potato Festival. They crown a Sweet Potato Queen and a Little Miss Tater Tot for little girls. I only competed for Little Miss Tater Tot once, when I was about three, and lost miserably to a girl in a sparklier dress."

The pageant world, with its fake smiles and sky-high hairdos, wasn't the best match for Mus-graves. She was more interested in songwriting, finishing her very first tune at 9 years old and learning her first instrument, the mandolin, as a pre-teen. Years later, though, the peculiarities of daily life in a small town — along with the places she's visited (and people she's met) since moving away— are back on her mind.

It's been years since Musgraves lived in Golden, Texas, her childhood home of roughly 600 people, but the whirlwind that followed Same Trailer Different Park — a debut album that topped the country charts, took home two Grammy Awards (including Country Album of the Year) and sent Musgraves halfway across the world on tour — made her think hard about where she came from. Pageant Material, her second album, pays tribute to those Bible Belt roots, shining a light on a hometown girl who's grown up, expanded her worldview and done a lot of livin' since skipping town. It's an album about where she's from and where she's going, full of autobiographical details that are humorous one minute and heartwarming the next.

"I really wanted this album to have a classic feel, like a lot of the records I know and love," says Musgraves, who name-checks artists like Willie Nelson, Glen Campbell and Ronnie Mil-sap as influences on Pageant Material's easygoing stride. "I intended on it having a laid-back yet lush, slightly kitschy, western vibe. And most of all, I wanted it to feel like me."

Appropriately, all thirteen of the album's songs were co-written by Musgraves, who teamed up with the same group of songwriters who'd helped bring Same Trailer Different Park to life sev-eral years earlier. Those names may be familiar — Brandy Clark, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, along with additions like Natalie Hemby and Ashley Arrison — but the songs are new, dreamt up during a songwriter's retreat in West Texas as well a handful of sessions back home in Nashville.

During the gorgeous "Late to the Party," Musgraves lingers with her boyfriend before a big get-together, knowing that he, not the party, is the real destination. She kicks back and enjoys life at a slower speed with "High Time," whose twangy chorus — punctuated by a whistled riff wor-thy of a high-lonesome cowboy — doubles as a nod to the childhood years Musgraves spent performing western swing music. On "Dimestore Cowgirl," she breezes through some of the more surreal highlights of her days on the road, from an early-morning European boat ride that took her band past the White Cliffs of Dover to a night spent in the same middle-of-nowhere motel where Gram Parsons spent his final hours. "I'm still the girl from Golden," she admits during the song's chorus, a reminder that no matter how big her career gets, she'll always be a small-town native. Later, with "This Town," she stresses the importance of staying pleasant in a cozy town where everyone knows you, and during "Biscuits" — a song inspired by her mother's advice to "kill 'em with kindness" — she explains some simple, yet important, things she's learned her 26 years.

Musgraves recorded Pageant Material in a unique way, capturing the songs during a series of live studio sessions. The goal was to harness the energy of her concerts, rather than build a record track-by-track and overdub-by-overdub. To lighten the mood, she decorated Nashville's historic RCA Studio A with fluorescent, life-size cacti and served fresh biscuits during breaks. She also brought a handful of plastic beauty pageant crowns into the studio and handed them out to her band, which included members of her touring lineup as well as pedal steel player Paul Franklin, drummer Fred Eltringham, and other top-tier players from the Nashville commu-nity. Musgraves pulled triple duty during the recording sessions, serving as singer, songwriter and co-producer on every track.

Since Pageant Material is such a personal project, it's only appropriate that several family members contributed to the album's creation. "This Town" begins with the voice of Musgraves' beloved Memaw — grandmother Barbara Taylor — who worked as an ER nurse in Texas until her passing in December 2013.

"We always loved to get her going, telling stories about the crazy stuff she'd seen lately at work," Musgraves remembers. "One night a couple years ago, we were all sittin' around her in the living room and made her tell stories. I secretly pressed record on my phone. I just thought for some reason I should, never thinking I'd end up using it. This particular part of the record has been a source of sadness and happiness at the same time. I really miss her, but it makes me smile knowing that her voice has literally become embedded in my musical legacy."

Likewise, Musgraves' little sister, Kelly Christine Sutton, shot the photographs for the album, including the throwback cover art. On a record that deals so heavily with Musgraves' roots — where she came from, how she grew up, and what her small hometown looks like from afar — the presence of her relatives adds an authentic touch.

"Pageant Material lives in a western-tinged world, and the songs are like little stories," Mus-graves says. "They set a vibe and a tone, and all make sense living in the same space. I think I'll always be affected by growing up in a small town, so it still inspires a lot of my writing. But there are some viewpoints on this record that I hadn't written from yet. More than anything, it's life and society, making mistakes and my relationships that continue to inspire me."
Sugar & The Hi-Lows
Sugar & The Hi Lows know that popular music isn't a mirror, that melodies and lyrics aren't tethered to the cultural landscapes of their day. Breathing a new sound into music with an old soul, this rootsy, vintage duo reminds us why we dance, especially in the midst of hard times.

Music has always had the power to buoy spirits and wash communal hardships into the background. When Judy Garland clicked her sparkling heels together and sang of a place "Over the Rainbow," for example, the rest of the nation was still reeling from the Great Depression. And though decades have come and gone, music has never lost that power.

Ringing in their new sound, Sugar & The Hi Lows are bringing back the era of feel good music, the days when one take was enough and an auto-tune was a thing you did to your '55 Chevy. Brought to life by experienced songwriter/performers Trent Dabbs and Amy Stroup, Sugar & The Hi Lows is a bit of a nostalgic love offering.

Growing up in Mississippi under the sway of Memphis blues, Dabbs was raised to the soundtrack of Motown, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye and The Temptations. "My father used to make blanket statements like, 'It's not good if you can't dance to it,'" he remembers. And though he wasn't into his father's sonic selection at the time, he says that style of music has come to evoke a feeling he can't get anywhere else.
"The older I got, I realized how that was kind of seeping into what I loved musically, and it just brings this joy, it brings this happiness," Dabbs says. "With the climate of everything right now – with the economy – you could write the most depressing songs ever, but I really feel like the world needs light; the world needs lighthearted."

Dabbs and Stroup are certainly no strangers to pop culture. Both mainstays in Nashville's singer-songwriter scene, the two have heard dozens of their songs spinning behind hit shows like Grey's Anatomy, Parenthood, Private Practice, So You Think You Can Dance, Pretty Little Liars and more.

Dabbs' music has been touted by Taylor Swift, and Stroup was named one of the Top 20 Songwriters Under 30 by A Prairie Home Companion. Though fully at home in their niche, the two still chose to step away from their self-described "heavy mellow" sound to pursue something with a bit more swing in its step.

The happy-go-lucky numbers that evolved into Sugar & The Hi Lows first began to take shape when Dabbs purchased a vintage box amp and sat down in his basement for a regular co-write with Stroup.
"We got to talking about his dad and throwback music from the '50s and '60s and just like, 'Why isn't there that type of music now?'" Stroup recalls. That day, their song "This Can't Be the Last Time" came in less than two hours. A newfound creative freedom had been tapped, and the next seven tracks for the project fell quickly into place.

"We weren't really trying to treat it like a band," Stroup explains. "We just wrote this series of songs, but they didn't feel like an Amy Stroup song or an Amy and Trent duet."

Sugar & The Hi Lows' self-titled debut is an eight-track project with the heart of a younger Robert Plant and Alison Krauss collaboration. Crackling with throwback phrases – "I've been buzzin' round your honey/ And babe I want it all for me" – the record is laced with gospel, soul, rock and an edge that will convince you you're listening to new music through an AM radio.

From the James Morrison-like groove of "Show and Tell" to the peppy 1950s beat of "Two Day High," Sugar & The Hi Lows let the music speak for itself and simply invite their fans to join in whatever ensues.

-By Brittany Joy Cooper
Venue Information:
College Street Music Hall
238 College Street
New Haven, CT, 06510
http://collegestreetmusichall.com/

Parking Information