With a new month comes a new Hall of Fangirl (wait a second; how did it get to July already?!), and as usual we’re spotlighting a few songwriters featured on a major country album release recently. Although we’ve featured most of these songwriters before, I thought it was time to talk about those who contributed to Kacey Musgraves’ brilliant sophomore album ‘Pageant Material’, and how they’ve made Kacey’s music what it is.
As co-producer of the record (as with her first), and co-writing credits on most of the songs, Shane McAnally has had a profound impact on the Kacey we know and love. On ‘Same Trailer Different Park’, he had a hand in writing ‘Silver Lining’, ‘My House’, ‘Merry Go Round’, ‘Dandelion’, ‘Blowin’ Smoke’, ‘Step Off’, ‘Keep It To Yourself’, ‘Stupid’, and ‘Follow Your Arrow’. For ‘Pageant Material’, meanwhile, Shane co-wrote ‘High Time’, ‘Dime Store Cowgirl’, ‘Pageant Material’, ‘Biscuits’, ‘Somebody To Love’, ‘Die Fun’, ‘Family Is Family’, ‘Cup of Tea’, and ‘Fine’. That’s nine songs on each album, a pretty impressive tally that has helped Shane to become one of Music Row’s top songwriters. Shane can be credited with bringing a catchy pop sensibility to the music.
As another co-producer working with Shane McAnally and Kacey herself, Luke also has had a profound effect on her development and the music on her albums. Alongside his co-producers he is responsible for the organic, cohesive sound she generates while at the same time the added orchestral parts that found their way onto ‘Pageant Material’. Of course, he wrote plenty of it too, picking up credits on ‘High Time’, ‘Dime Store Cowgirl’, the title track, ‘This Town’, ‘Die Fun’, and ‘Good Ol’ Boys Club’, while the last album found him co-writing on ‘Blowin’ Smoke’, ‘I Miss You’, ‘Step Off’, ‘Back On The Map’, ‘Keep It To Yourself’, and ‘It Is What It Is’.
Another songwriter Kacey has continued to work with since ‘Same Trailer’, Josh wrote plenty of the songs on ‘Pageant Material’, including ‘Late To The Party’, ‘Somebody To Love’, ‘Miserable’, ‘Family Is Family’ and ‘Cup of Tea’. On ‘Same Trailer’ he had a hand in writing the likes of ‘Silver Lining’, ‘My House’, ‘Merry Go Round’, ‘I Miss You’, and ‘Stupid’. Like Shane, Josh has that pop sensibility that balances Kacey out, but with an extra dose of rhythmic, beat-orientated writing that pushes the music into new territory.
Although Brandy is hard at work on her second record, she still has a handful of co-writes on ‘Pageant Material’. These include ‘Late To The Party’, ‘This Town’, ‘Biscuits’, and ‘Miserable’, compared to ‘Dandelion’, ‘Follow Your Arrow’, and ‘It Is What It Is’ on ‘Same Trailer’. Brandy, being more of a traditionalist than the others but with a sharp lyrical wit, adds a touch of her dark sense of humor and honest, heartfelt songwriting here.
Natalie is a pretty new addition to the team, with no co-writes on ‘Same Trailer Different Park’ and only one on ‘Pageant Material’. However, the sassy, feminist songwriter noted for her work with Miranda Lambert among others works perfectly with Kacey and on ‘Good Ol’ Boys Club’. Hopefully they co-write more in the future!
A friend of Kacey’s and the overall group she usually works with, it was hardly surprising that Ashley got in a co-write on this record, on ‘Fine’. In fact, it’s perhaps more surprising that we haven’t heard more co-writes from the pair, given their friendship. She’s the least known songwriter on the record, having penned three songs for Kelly Clarkson back in 2013 and for the most part releasing her own material or singing background vocals for a selection of non-country acts including Badly Drawn Boy and Lindsay Lohan. However, given how great ‘Fine’ is, I don’t think this’ll be the last we hear of her.