On ‘Deeper Well,’ Kacey Musgraves Is Closer to Fine

Contentment makes for tricky songwriting territory. Songs thrive more often on extremes: desire, heartache, rage, despair, striving, longing, ecstasy. But Kacey Musgraves has now made two superb albums suffused with satisfaction: “Golden Hour” from 2018, which won the Grammy for album of the year, and her new one out Friday, “Deeper Well.”

On “Golden Hour,” Musgraves sang about the gratification and relief of blissful romance in songs like “Butterflies.” With “Deeper Well” — which follows her divorce album, “Star-Crossed” — Musgraves finds more comfort in a wistful self-sufficiency. She savors small pleasures, personal connections and casual revelations, with a touch of new-age mysticism.

In the album’s title song, Musgraves calmly notes how she’s setting aside youthful misjudgments. She’s moving away from people with “dark energy” and no longer getting high every morning (though her Instagram account is still @spaceykacey). At 35, she’s glad to be more mature. “It’s natural when things lose their shine,” she sings, “so other things can glow.”

Musgraves grew up in a small East Texas town and she’s nominally a country singer. Her 2013 debut, “Same Trailer Different Park,” won a Grammy as best country album, as did “Golden Hour,” and she has won multiple Grammys for best country song.

But while mainstream country has leaned into booze, trucks and arena-scale bombast, Musgraves prefers delicacy, detail and wryly upending small-town expectations. The title song of her second album, “Pageant Material,” explained: “It ain’t that I don’t care about world peace/But I don’t see how I can fix it in a swimsuit on a stage.”

Her music prizes understatement, bypassing standard Nashville sounds and often harking back to 1970s Laurel Canyon folk-pop. Like that era’s songwriters and producers, Musgraves is steeped in folk music and seemingly diaristic, but also unassumingly savvy about pop structures and studio possibilities.

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