They Make Country Albums, Don’t They?

Pageant Material

Aside from the fact that she’s been known to cover the deplorably materialistic and plastic “No Scrubs” by TLC on stage, Musgraves is alright in our book. Actually, as one of the few mainstream country artists who is, in fact, solidly country, and not a purveyor of that cheesy pop/rock with a twang that passes for the venerable art form these days, she’s more than alright. Musgraves seems like the real deal.

On her sophomore album, the Grammy-winning Musgraves fuels the frequent Dolly Parton comparisons by continuing on her traditionalist bent and delivering some of the best mainstream country we’ve heard in a while. Sure, she makes a few concessions to contemporary Nashville (“Dime Store Cowgirl”, “Die Fun”, “Good Old Boys Club”), but it's unavoidable in 2015 while recording for a major label, even if you happen to be a traditionalist. Fret not, howeverthere’s more of the good stuff than you would expect from a new darling of the country set on Pageant Material. This one, though, looks like she might have a chance at keeping the crown.

Highlights: “High Time”, “Biscuits”, “Miserable”, the hilarious “Family is Family”, “Cup of Tea”, “Fine”, the Willie Nelson duet “Are You Sure?” and the title track.