Kacey Musgraves has won a few more Grammys, including, you know, the big one, since you saw her last. But she greeted Stubb's dusty Sunday crowd in typical "do whatever you want" fashion by encouraging everyone present to raise up both middle fingers and nodding approvingly when they did.
Since her last Austin appearance, when she taped an episode of "Austin City Limits," Musgraves' new successes and the effect they've had on her popularity are palpable.
She mouthed "What? What?" after winning "Album of the Year" at the Grammys last month, but she wasn't the most surprised by far. Up against major artists including Drake, Post Malone and Janelle Monáe, there was still some murmuring of "Kacey, who?" It hasn't gone unnoticed by longtime fans that quite a few more people are singing along to recent album "Golden Hour" than did 2015's "Pageant Material."
Regardless of how many more people are listening now, when Musgraves addresses the rowdy Stubb's crowd, it's to reiterate a message she's championed from the beginning: You'll always be where you're from.
"So I'm sure we do, but I want to know -- do we have anyone here that's from a really, really small town?" Musgraves asked. "Because I'm from a really, really small town, and I wrote this song about that small town, but you can sing along as if it's about your small town," she said before launching into crowd favorite "Merry Go 'Round."
Musgraves' overarching message of acceptance and authenticity, coming exactly as you are no matter how small the town you're from is, is most evident in the crowd she draws. When she launched into a blue-backlit rendition of "Neon Moon" a younger fan in a pink cowboy hat whispered to her friend, "I think this is new..." The group of older men who belted out the chorus a few feet up, however, are a different kind of fan. Both can get behind classic country ballads like "Space Cowboy," "Love is a Wild Thing," but only the former shrieked when they heard the beginning notes of dance-along "High Horse."
So much of Musgraves' appeal lies in her personality. She's all the right parts easygoing, sharp and self-deprecating. "I've got a million things to do, but I haven't done a single one," she sang in "Lonely Weekend." And then, as an afterthought yelled out "Because I'm lazy!" She introduced her band as the "Crispy Boys" and, pointing to the bass and cello onstage, said, almost as if to herself, "That's the mama, and that's the baby."
With "Golden Hour," Musgraves is a little bit more famous, a little bit more widely acclaimed, and probably, as she admitted, "a little bit tired."
But with her Stubb's performance, she's here to assure fans (new and old alike) that she's not smoking any less weed, still just as humble about her success as she's always been and will always be your "Dime Store Cowgirl."