HO HO WHO: Nashville’s brightest and most brazen songwriter Kacey Musgraves follows up her excellent sophomore record Pageant Material with—shocker—a Christmas album. It must be written in the Country Music Rulebook somewhere that, in order to rise to a certain level of stardom, one must do a Christmas album. Because A Very Kacey Christmas doesn’t really seem like something the 28-year-old Texas native—known for her poignantly progressive lyrics, especially in the perpetually conservative world of country music—would do. But lo and behold, A Very Kacey Christmas doesn’t suck! It’s actually a lovely throwback country record that showcases her warm voice on a bunch of holiday standards. But someone must’ve put a little pot in those Christmas cookies, because there’s also an original duet with Willie Nelson.
MERRY AND MELLOW: “A Willie Nice Christmas” is the perfect Christmas song … if you’re celebrating at a luau in Hawaii. Indeed, Musgraves’ breezy original opens with just a ukulele and a lazy pedal steel guitar to give it a truly hazy feeling. And since this is Willie Nelson and Kacey Musgraves—whose fondness for jazz cabbage is well-documented—you can bet your ass that the duo’s holiday celebrations will be higher than yours: “And I hope you have a really / A really, really, Willie nice Christmas / If you’re in Luckenbach or Waikiki / Yeah, I hope you have a really / A really, really, Willie nice Christmas / And may we all stay higher than the angel on top of the tree.”
GIMME THAT WILLIE GOOD STUFF: Look, there’s denying it: This song is goofy as hell. But what would you expect when Kacey and Willie get together, indulge in the devil’s lettuce, and write a Christmas song? You’re going to get lyrics like this: “Have a Willie happy Hanukkah / Feliz Navidad-ukkah / A Willie happy Kwanzaa ’cause it’s all the same / A Mele Kalikimaka, hey / Whatever way you wanna say.” If only listeners could get as high as Kacey and Willie presumably were when they were writing it.
CHEER FACTOR: 420/10. Pass the Christmas cheer to the left hand side.