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Kacey Musgraves

Very Kacey Christmas – 2016 (Mercury)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Kacey Musgraves

Sometimes it's not about what you play, but the way you play it, and with "A Very Kacey Christmas," Kacey Musgraves sacrifices a little surprise for a relatively pleasantly predictable holiday offering.

For instance, Musgraves' duet with Willie Nelson plays on (surprise surprise) the iconic singer's propensity to smoke weed when they wish the world "A Willie Nice Christmas." Although there are some sad country songs, like "Christmas Makes Me Cry" and "Present Without a Bow," which features soul singer Leon Bridges, most these songs are fun ones, including plenty of kids' songs. These tunes for the younger set are highlighted by "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" and "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Musgraves doesn't, it seems, want to make things all heavy during the holidays.

Just as with her regular studio albums, Musgraves keeps the music pure country throughout. Even "Mele Kalikimaka" (which features The Quebe Sisters chiming in on vocals) with its Hawaiian sonic flavor, still includes plenty of traditional country instrumental elements and swings along nicely.

Musgraves' natural charm has remained consistent throughout her recording career. Therefore, although "A Very Kacey Christmas" may not be her best work - at least not when compared to non-holiday studio albums - it's nevertheless a pleasurable, lighthearted holiday.