Kacey Musgraves review – sweet and salty country-pop magic

<span>Radiant … Kacey Musgraves at O2 Academy, Glasgow.</span><span>Photograph: Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns</span>
Radiant … Kacey Musgraves at O2 Academy, Glasgow.Photograph: Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns

‘Looks like you came to party!” teases Kacey Musgraves, radiant in a white dress and matching cowboy boots. With a gentle wave, the Texan country star tells us to take it easy. Tonight’s showcase for her introspective sixth album Deeper Well is all mellow magic – but for every airy verse about the healing beauty of nature, there’s a shadowy kicker.

Related: Kacey Musgraves: Deeper Well review – folk-pop that’s high on life and pure as mountain air

Cardinal, the album’s lead single, is dedicated to the late John Prine. Over an eerily transcendent, 70s-infused guitar melody, she wonders if he’s sending her signs “from the other side”. For a split second, the lights cut out. The gorgeous Heaven Is, inspired by Scottish folk song Ca’ the Yowes, veers from earthly pleasures to mysteries beyond the veil, while The Architect, with its humble strumming and deceptively simple refrain, is split between fate and fatalism: “Could I pray it away, am I shapeable clay? Or is this as good as it gets?”

Flanked by a flawless eight-piece band, Musgraves is an understated presence. Her crystal clear voice is shiver-inducing, but the seven-time Grammy winner makes it look so easy, compelling the crowd to sing with a single raised finger. When she kneels, serenely, during the thunderstorm climax of psychedelic live standout Jade Green, it is as if she’s plucking flowers from the forest floor. Her only misstep is telling a Glaswegian audience she’s excited to visit Edinburgh: “Why are you booing? Do we need to unpack this?” she quips, raising an eyebrow.

Musgraves makes it look so easy, compelling the crowd to sing with a single raised finger

For a crowd-pleaser there’s no competing with High Horse, the sunny, sarcastic, disco-influenced single from her acclaimed fourth album Golden Hour, but Musgraves visibly relishes two tracks from its underrated follow-up, Star-Crossed. She litigates her divorce with sultry frustration on Justified, while the fidgety, funky Breadwinner takes aim at a man threatened by her success.

A pedal steel cover of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds offers a holistic, sugary finale, but just as the audience dig into a final repetition of “don’t worry …”, she segues into a few bars of her own music. “Easier said than done,” she murmurs, adding a sprinkle of salt to tone down the sweet.