Kacey Musgraves: ‘Deeper Well’ – Album Review

Kacey Musgraves shares her fifth studio album, Deeper Well, out now, March 15th on all streaming platforms. Listen to the brand new project here.

Kacey Musgraves has long been one of country’s – and forget just country, music’s – most influential songwriters of the 21st century. Her way of cutting straight to the bone of a lyric has rocked listeners’ worlds for over a decade, and her latest, Deeper Well, continues to weave universal storytelling with sonic ethereal magic.

The album’s opener, “Cardinal” is a wonderful opener for a variety of reasons. For one, it’s probably one of the funkier tracks, sounding like a cross between a 2000s Nelly Furtado hit and deep-cut off The Chicks’ Home. There are interesting rhythmic and tempo changes that occur by the time the listener gets to the bridge, and lyrically, it sets the tone for the entirety of the album: seeing signs in everything, falling in love, anxiety, growing up, and letting yourself make mistakes and learning from them.

Title track “Deeper Well” is the second song, and previously released “Too Good To Be True” is third, and while already lovely on its own, fit seamlessly into the story of the rest of the album. The threads of anxiety and falling are leaned into.

You can clearly hear the inspiration of everyone from Willie Nelson and John Prine to Nick Drake and Judee Sill on tracks like “Dinner With Friends” and “Giver/Taker”. Musgraves and her musical partners, Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian modulate on “Dinner With Friends” in this particularly interesting way that is reminiscent of the 70s more psychedelic folk like Drake and Sill, although lyrically it falls slightly short of that vibe. “Giver/Taker” is just generally fantastic, with the drums coming in on the second verse in that floaty, “Slow Burn” perfection way. There are a lot of metaphors to the outdoors on this album, but also, a lot to “the house” that Musgraves is in. “Moving Out” clearly follows that metaphor as well.

Transitions from one song into the next flow seamlessly together, another nod to the 60s and 70s songwriter influence, and this is really heard on a favorite, “Sway”. It’s floaty and gorgeous sonically, but also incredibly thoughtful. “Most of the time thoughts in my mind keep me running/Show me a place where I can just think of nothing”. It’s existential, but also a surrender to anxiety, with Musgraves sharing that “maybe one day I’ll learn how to sway”.

Perhaps the middle of the album gets a bit redundant lyrically – “Lonely Millionaire” and “Heart Of The Woods” are slightly forgettable – but every track is still truly stunning in the effortless sonic planet that Musgraves, Fitchuk and Tashian have created.

The only song written without Fitchuk and Tashian is “The Architect”, written with longtime, original collaborators Shane McNally and Josh Osborne. As usual, the three wrote a song that is like a masterclass in country storytelling. “Is it too late to make some more space?” Musgraves ponders throughout. Sonically, it could fit the bill of any Lilith Fair performer.

Deeper Well feels like a slightly more countrified Laurel Canyon project, and the wonderful closer, “Nothing To Be Scared Of” solidifies this. Musgraves successfully stripped back a layer of vulnerability when writing this album that resonates, and Deeper Well is already shaping up to be one of the musical highlights of 2024.

Deeper Well Tracklist:

  1. Cardinal
  2. Deeper Well
  3. Too Good To Be True
  4. Moving Out
  5. Giver / Taker
  6. Sway
  7. Dinner With Friends
  8. Heart of the Woods
  9. Jade Green
  10. The Architect
  11. Lonely Millionaire
  12. Heaven Is
  13. Anime Eyes
  14. Nothing To Be Scared Of

Kacey Musgraves shares her new album, ‘Deeper Well,’ out now on all streaming platforms.

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Deeper Well is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.