BY FAITH HARPER
amily members of Kacey Musgraves, an East Texas singer and songwriter, said it has been a whirlwind of excitement since her new album debuted near the top of the charts.
"Same Trailer Different Park" was released on March 19. It was the No. 1 selling album on Billboard's country charts and placed second on the Billboard top 200 chart, right behind Justin Timberlake's newest release "The 20/20 Experience."
Ms. Musgraves' mother, Karen Musgraves, said she believes the album is doing so well because the song lyrics are very relatable.
"I think she considers herself more of a writer," Karen Musgraves said. "She's not one of these artists that can or would get up and belt it out — that's not her. She has a pretty and nice voice and she has good lyrics and good songs, and I think the combination of the two has made her album so well received."
Karen Musgraves said her daughter's record label gave Kacey the reins on her album.
"They didn't dictate that she could not do …" she said. "I think that meant a lot that her label supported her and had enough faith to let her do what she wanted, and the fact that she did it and it was well received was huge for her."
The 24-year-old rising star was presented with her first gold record for the song "Merry Go 'Round over the weekend. The tune sold more than 500,000 digi-tal copies.
She also performed for the first time on the Grand Ole Opry stage, an honor family members, said held great personal meaning for the young song writer.
"We took her all over Texas and she played the opries all over Texas when she was a kid, and now she played the Grand Ole Opry, which is the top of the mountain," said Barbara Musgraves, Kacey's grandmother.
"For all country singers, that is a great desire — to step on the Grand Ole Opry stage, to step in that circle and perform," she said. "Her dream came true."
Barbara Musgraves said, among the friends and family who came to Nashville to watch the performance, was Pierre De Wit, owner of Kiepersol Estates Winery.
She said when Kacey was about 10 years old De Wit asked her how she learned to yodel. Kasey was holding a bottle of Yodeling water and gave it to him, explaining that anyone could yodel after they drank the brand of water, Barbara Musgraves said.
De Wit said he would give the bottle back when she played at the famous music venue.
"He came all the way out to give her back her yodeling water, and he kept it on his shelf all this time to give back to her," Barbara Musgraves said.
Family members said the success and reception of Kacey's music seems sudden, but she has been performing in opries, festivals and venues since she was about 9 years old.
"That's what she liked doing, so we started taking her around (to opries) and she kept getting better and better, and she was still liking it," Karen Musgraves said. "It turned into to what she wanted to do."
Barbara Musgraves said Kacey always had something special.
"You could just tell as a little kid there was something special there," she said. "As she got older and developed it more, it just got real obvious."
Then Kacey picked up the mandolin and the guitar. Family members said it was her longtime guitar teacher John DeFoore who encouraged her writing
"She started taking guitar lessons from him when she was 12," Karen Musgrave said. "She expressed an interest in song writing, and he pushed it. He put it in the forefront … (and) it was an inspiration to her. I think it did make a big difference."
Her love of writing continued, and Kacey's first paid Nashville job was as a song writer for Warner Chapel Publishing. Karen Musgraves said Kacey's songs have been picked up by Miranda Lambert, Gretchen Wilson and Martina McBride, among others.
Kacey has seen a lot of success on the performance end of the industry. In addition to having the number one country album, she is on tour with Kenny Chesney and nominated for three Academy of Country Music (AMC) awards, which will be presented on April 7. Kacey's father will walk her down the red carpet.
She is nominated among Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift and Martina McBride for female vocalist of the year. She is also nominated in the new female vocalist of the year.
The video for her gold single "Merry go Round" is also nominated for video of the year. Karen Musgraves said it was a home production put together by Kacey and a friend of hers.
But through all the success 2013 has brought, Karen Musgraves said for her the reality hasn't quite set in.
"It's really almost like it doesn't even register yet because it's hard to believe," she said. "It's kind of surreal, but I won't even let myself think about it yet. I'm very happy for her and I'm excited that everything is going great – it's just kind of scary."
Through the success, the family has remained close. Kacey's sister, Kelly, is her primary photographer and snapped all the shots in her album. Karen Musgraves said the two have remained close and get to see each other often. The family also wiggles in family time as often as they can manage.
"We are so excited and happy about what is going on," Karen Musgraves said. "She has had a lot of good things happen, and we are enjoying the ride with her."