Spacey Kacey in Portland

On Monday night, I was among the lucky fans who filled the Schnitz to see the remarkable Kacey Musgraves.

When tickets for Kacey Musgraves’ Portland show went on sale last fall, I wasted no time getting mine. I’d missed her on a couple of previous visits to the city, and I didn’t want it to happen a third time.

Well, talk about great timing. Monday night’s sold-out show at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall brought Kacey to town riding high on her Grammy Award-winning laurels of the previous weekend: Album of the Year, Best Country Album, Best Country Song, Best Country Solo Performance.

During a 90-minute set, she drew heavily from “Golden Hour,” her third and most accomplished album yet. She was great, almost effortlessly so.

I’ve been a fan of Kacey since she burst onto the scene in 2013 with “Same Trailer Different Park,” the debut album that earned her Best Country Album along with Best Country Song (Merry Go ‘Round) at the 2014 Grammys. It was a track from that same album, “Follow Your Arrow,” that I especially liked — a song that’s as un-country as you can imagine, with references to marijuana and a girl-on-girl kiss.

Kacey hails from a small town in Texas, and her voice is unmistakably country. Yet she continues to evolve as a songwriter with a sound that ranges from classic country to pop to ethereal to disco — yes, disco.

On Monday, I found myself appreciating several songs with lush melodies built on layers of instrumentation.

During mid-show introductions of her excellent band members, there were the usual ones on guitar, drums and bass, but also on banjo, pedal steel guitar, cello and keyboards.

Kacey says of her music: “Undeniably, I’m a country singer; I’m a country songwriter. But I feel like I make country music for people who like country music and for people who don’t.”

If you’ve never heard Kacey Musgraves, give a listen to the videos below, recorded live in Los Angeles, London and New York. All are from the new album. “Wonder Woman” is mid-tempo. “Golden Hour” is mellow. “High Horse” is a throwback to the days of disco. It’s the song she saved for last Monday night, the one that got everyone out of their seats.

From my seat in the upper balcony, I could hold my thumb and forefinger an inch apart and squint toward the stage, where I could see Kacey: a distant, slender figure in a shimmery outfit, with long dark hair and a relaxed stage presence that invited everyone to enjoy a golden hour and a half of wonderful music.

There she is. A tiny figure as seen from Section 1, Row V, Seat 1.

She calls herself @spaceykacey on Instagram, but she came across as pretty down-to-earth to me, relaxed and relatable.

At just 30 years old (yikes, one year younger than our youngest child), Kacey Musgraves has already collected six Grammys and won a worldwide following. I don’t know what she’ll do to top “Golden Hour,” but I’m pretty sure she’ll find a way.

Sunday morning

SundaySunriseThere’s a reason that Sunday morning is my favorite day and time of the week.

By the time Friday and Saturday nights have passed, I’ve pretty much wound up from the previous week and look ahead to a day that’s typically short on planned activities. Well, except for a 9:30 a.m. yoga class with Lori.

There was no yoga class today, though, so I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with Lori, followed by an even more leisurely walk in our neighborhood with Otto. I left the iPod and earbuds at home for a change and it was a great decision. Having no music in my head opened my ears and eyes to some pretty cool things in our ‘hood.

I was already feeling pretty chill and feeling blessed (again) at being married to my wonderful wife, who as I write this is participating in a season-ending cleanup of the community garden at the K-8 school near our home.

In no particular order:


— Church bells ringing

— Unseen birds chirping.

— Gurgling of someone’s backyard fountain.

— Lingering memories of Kacey Musgraves,* whose CD was the last I listened to before heading out the door.


— A free lending library in front of someone’s home — one of those homemade contraptions that invite people to take or leave a book on the honor system).

— A boy, 9 or 10 years old, playing a game of catch in the middle of the street with his mom.

“I like your hat,” he said, chasing down an errant throw as I passed by.

“Thanks,” I replied.

Who’s got the better arm?” I called out to the woman.

“He does,” she said with a smile. “I’m just the target.”

“We’re big Pirates fans, by the way,” she added, acknowledging the black-and-yellow cap on my head.

— A dad walking his two young daughters toward me on the sidewalk, the younger one holding his hand. Both girls wore backpacks. My guess: He was walking them home after a sleepover in the neighborhood.

— A mom and dad, with two kids in tow, stopping outside our townhouse building so the woman could take a photo of the poetry post we and our neighbors installed.

“You’re welcome to take a copy of the poem,” I said from a distance.

“Oh, is this yours?”

“Yep. That’s the one I put in there.** We take turns posting a new one every Friday.”

“How cool. Thanks.”

The world can be a harsh place sometimes. But 20 minutes walking the dog is all it took to lift my spirits for the day. So fortunate to live in this city, in this neighborhood, in this moment in time.

* Listen to Kacey Musgraves

** Read the poem: “You can’t tell by looking”

Saturday sounds: Kacey Musgraves

Last month’s Grammy Awards brought a pleasant surprise: 25-year-old singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves. She walked away with the Best Country Album, upsetting the heavily favored Taylor Swift, and caught my ear with her performance of “Follow Your Arrow.”

I bought the award winning CD “Same Trailer Different Park” and now I’m hoping an upcoming tour will bring her to Portland.

Love the lyrics to “Follow Your Arrow.”