Kacey Musgraves Dives Into the Depths of the Human Condition on ‘Deeper Well’

Kacey Musgraves’ music has gone through many evolutions in the past two decades. Yet at its core, her songs have always been deeply emotional and lyrically ruminative. On her latest album, Deeper Well, the dimestore cowgirl dives emotionally further into the depths of the human condition. 

The folk rock album swoops in with the opening track “Cardinal,” which calls upon the spiritual adage “when cardinals appear angels are near.” 

In an accompanying CD zine, Musgraves revealed that the song was inspired by her friend, mentor, and collaborator, the late John Prine, who died of COVID-19 complications in 2020. “He always had a big connection to cardinals and felt that they were messengers from the spirit realm. He inspired this song, no doubt.”

Opening with a guitar riff reminiscent of The Mamas & The Papas’ “California Dreamin’,” Musgraves sings “I saw a sign / Or an omen / On the branches / In the mornin’ / It was right after I lost a friend / Without warning / Words unsaid / Scarlet red / Cardinal / Are you bringin’ me a message from the other side / Cardinal / Are you tellin’ me I’m on somebody’s mind / Don’t leave me behind.”

“Cardinal” is followed by “Too Good to Be True,” a wary love song that pleads, “Be good to me and I’ll be good to you/ But please don’t be too good to be true,” as Musgraves tries to protect her heart. 

The album progresses through fourteen tracks that find new beginnings in life’s endings. The project truly hits its stride at track nine, with the glowing “Jade Green.” Drawing power and inspiration from the healing gemstone, the song navigates the fear of losing someone. 

From the strings to the lyrics, the spellbinding track would fit easily into a revival of Duncan Sheik’s coming-of-age musical “Spring Awakening.” 

“Jade Green” sets the foundation for the honest and thought provoking “The Architect” as Musgraves opens up about the highs and lows of self perception. While the haunting “Lonely Millionaire,” leaves behind the pain of loss, and builds into blossoming affection and renewal. 

The album closes with “Nothing to be Scared Of,” which ushers Musgraves into her next season of life.
Even in her Deeper Well era, Musgraves continues to bask in the glow of her Golden Hour.