Kacey Musgraves’ first year in the national spotlight was an incredible one – she won the CMA’s New Artist of the Year Award, got a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart and hit the road hard, mixing small headline dates with an opening slot on a Little Big Town tour and playing a bundle of stadiums with Kenny Chesney.

As glamorous as that appears from the outside, Musgraves purposely gritted out the process, sleeping in a “coffin” – as musicians like to call it – instead of using the big room at the back of the bus.

“I have a bunk, just like everybody else,” she said. “There’s always room to move up and upgrade. But my first year, I wanted to be with the band. It’s like summer camp, you know? Being the only girl on a bus with nine guys is kind of hard when you don’t have your own space, or your own bus. But we are a close-knit group of people and friends. I kind of like the fact that we’re just all in it together right now. I feel like I would feel a little lonely if I was completely separated.”

Separation, she discovered, is a tricky subject in the hinterland. Smartphones and the Internet certainly make it easier to stay in touch with the rest of her team in Nashville, including the Universal Music Group, CAA and Sandbox Management. But the ever-changing work environment on tour is a challenge. Every venue represents a new setup and a new group of local contacts. There’s usually an issue that needs attention, and it’s different every day. And big chunks of the schedule can get chewed up just waiting.

“A lot of times you just have time to just sit around and do nothing and wait on soundcheck or whatever,” she said. “It’s so easy to just get caught up on going and going that you forget to include people that aren’t on the dream with you physically. So it’s hard. It takes a lot of effort to stay connected to the people who aren’t immediately right in front of you.”

On the most difficult days, she tries to remember what Chesney told her during the No Shoes Nation Tour.

“He was just like, ‘Hey, I know this all can get overwhelming sometimes, but don’t let it. It’s about music. It should be fun.’ That’s really cool, if you think about it like that.”

Below, Kacey Musgraves welcomes a Grammy Awards crew onboard her tour bus:

  • Cydney Morey

    I love your music singing/songwriting. You are the best thing to come along in awhile, since Miranda. YEP. Stay on the Map Kacey