Kacey Musgraves Performs Live From Nashville in Her First-Ever Interview With Howard Stern

7-time Grammy winner also talks smoking with Willie Nelson and recording with Sheryl Crow

March 20, 2024

Not only did Kacey Musgraves make her Stern Show debut bright and early Monday morning, she also became the first guest to talk to Howard in the brand-new SiriusXM Nashville Studios.

The two chatted about best singer-songwriters, her start in show business as a child yodeling star, and, of course, her new album “Deeper Well” and upcoming world tour.  

“We played the Ryman [Auditorium] the other night and this was the first time that we were playing these songs for like a body of people,” Kacey told Howard while admitting she can mess up a chord every now and again. “I was pretty nervous. I hadn’t played a show in a while.”

Strong Enough to Record With Sheryl Crow

Photo: Getty Images for SiriusXM

The moment Kacey recorded “Slow Burn” for 2018’s “Golden Hour” she knew she had something. “I felt really good about this song,” she told Howard.

Recording it at repeat Stern Show guest Sheryl Crow’s sprawling 50-acre farm certainly didn’t hurt. “It’s the fucking coolest place ever … it literally looks like you stepped back in time,” the singer said of the property, which also includes a saloon. “She’s got Guinness on tap, and then above the horse stable and the saloon there’s a beautiful recording studio and that’s where we recorded this. It was fucking awesome.”

In addition to the “sick vintage gear” housed at the studio, Musgraves was just as impressed with Crow the person. “We would ride horses and stuff and hang and chill,” she said of their time together. “I think she’s so authentic and she’s a really good example of somebody who has seen super crazy heights of success and is just so humble and so down to earth and I really appreciate that.”

How Getting High With Willie Nelson Led to Their Duet

If her new single “Deeper Well” is any indication, Kacey’s days of rolling out of bed and hitting the gravity bong are largely behind her. Even so, a visitor to her home is likely to come across a framed joint she shared with legendary country musician and marijuana enthusiast Willie Nelson while they toured together in 2014. “He twisted one up for us and was like, ‘Now you kids enjoy this,’ … And we smoked half of it with him, and then I put it out, and I was like, ‘I’m saving that,’” Musgraves recalled, adding, “We smoked a lot together … He’s very generous with his stash.”

The two would soon collaborate on more than just crushing a joint. In 2015, they teamed up to record Willie’s decades-old tune “Are You Sure.” Looking back at how that duet came to be, Kacey said marijuana played a major part. “We were on tour, [and] I was like so high that I broke through the space fabric. I was like, I’m not even here anymore,” she told Howard. “And I was like, ‘Hey Willie, do you ever do that song “Are You Sure”?’”

“He was like, ‘Do you want to record it? … I’ll sing it with you,’” she continued. “And out of a cloud of smoke—I don’t know where it came from—he just pulls his guitar from out of nowhere and starts strumming it, and I started geeking out so hard. And, yeah, we ended up recording that one together.”

“We got to film a video for that one … I’ll never forget it,” Kacey added. “We did a tequila shot. I got to pick out what he was wearing … It was the coolest day ever.”


Kacey kicked off a trio of performances with “Rainbow,” a track off 2018’s “Golden Hour.” As she told Howard, the song came from the stars in a way. “I was reading my horoscope one day and it said, ‘You don’t know it Leo, but there’s a rainbow hanging over your head,” she said, adding, “Basically, shit’s about to get really good.”

With that, it became a song with a message. “Just when you think it might be the worst, the sky could just turn it open,” Kacey explained. “It’s just not giving up in whatever situation you’ve been in.”

‘Deeper Well’

Next came “Deeper Well,” the title song off Musgraves’ new album. Recorded at New York City’s Electric Lady Studios, cutting a track there was a great experience for the artist. “Damn it’s got some good energy,” Kacey said of the legendary recording studio Jimi Hendrix built. “It’s sort of like a time capsule … It’s in the heart of Greenwich Village and it’s just super groovy.”

As she told Howard, the song, which is about taking stock of what’s important, organically came out of a conversation with co-writers Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian. “We were just talking about life … friendships, seasons changing,” she said. “In conversation, in real time, the song was written pretty quickly.”

‘Three Little Birds’

Kacey closed the morning out with a cover of Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds,” which is featured on the soundtrack for the recent biopic on his life, “Bob Marley: One Love.” When the Marley family approached her about contributing a track, it was a no-brainer. “I’ve always loved reggae and, I mean, who doesn’t love Bob Marley?” she remarked. “His music just feels so good and I really love obviously what he’s about.”

It also helped that Kacey had been covering the song for quite a while, although she did change things up a bit. “I like taking a song that isn’t country and sort of putting my own spin on it,” Musgrave said before explaining she added some minor chords to the arrangement. “It’s kind of got this melancholy feel to it … like someone who’s maybe at their wit’s end and about to give up hope, but there’s like a little ray of sunshine that kind of pops through the clouds and says, ‘It’s going to be fine.’”

Kacey Musgraves’ new album “Deeper Well” is available now.

You Give us your email Address we'll give you even more howard!

By signing up, I agree to receive newsletters and marketing emails from the Howard Stern Show and accept the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy