Kacey Musgraves Credit: Courtesy of the artist

A lot has happened for country queen Kacey Musgraves since she last played Chicago, in the opening slot on Harry Styles’s 2018 tour. She presented at the Oscars, guest-judged an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and—oh yeah—won the Album of the Year Grammy for her third record, 2018’s Golden Hour. As pop music’s current golden girl, Musgraves is back on the road headlining the “Oh, What a World” tour. And as her star power rises, she seems poised between a before and an after, like that instant between lightning flash and thunderclap. Following a career-defining year, she’s ready to show off her chops. On the whimsical track her tour is named for she sings “There’s all kinds of magic, it’s hard to believe”—and she’s channels that whimsy and dreaminess in her live shows, with aesthetic choices such as rainbow-filtered pastel stage lights, and 70s-inspired designer jumpsuits and fur coats. Through her ascent, Musgraves has kept the reins on her identity. Golden Hour retains her twang while exploring new musical territory, including the disco-tinged “High Horse” and the kitschy “Velvet Elvis.” And her effortless cool bridges rest stops and runways: In a recent video produced by Vogue for New York Fashion Week, she dances in a wood-paneled motel room while wearing a Rodarte gown. At the end of the video, an old-timey title card flashes across the screen: “That’s Country.”   v