Seated on a barstool and covered only by her acoustic guitar, she delivered a bold rendition of the tune “Justified” with hardly anything at all between her music and fans — but it was more about baring her soul than her body.
Far from a wardrobe malfunction or a simple stunt, Musgraves’ revealing performance helped capture the deeply personal story “Justified” tells. Featuring a delicate vocal about the struggle to overcome a breakup, with her heart bouncing back and forth between longing and relief, the eye-catching performance wasn’t just about grabbing headlines. It may also have been intended to direct attention at the song’s “naked” honesty. Like the rest of her Star-Crossed album, it was written following Musgraves’ divorce from ex-husband and fellow artist, Ruston Kelly.
Meanwhile, “Justified” wasn’t the only performance on the night, which was hosted by actor Owen Wilson. Kacey Musgraves also sang the vivid “Camera Roll” — featuring a completely different choice of stage wear, but with an equally expressive result. Singing a dreamy tribute to the emotional peril of scrolling back through photos of better days on your phone, Musgraves delivered that track dressed for comfort in jeans, a flannel button-down and bare feet — but there was nothing comfortable about the heartbreak in her voice.
Her Star-Crossed album arrived on September 10 as the follow up to her Grammy Album of the Year-winning Golden Hour, and last month she delivered a fiery performance of the title track on the MTV Video Music Awards. She’ll hit the road in January for a limited run of headline shows titled Star-Crossed: Unveiled.