How Willie Nelson Helped Kacey Mugraves Craft a “Fun, Stoner, Reggae Christmas Jam”

ABC/Paula Lobo

As is often the case, Kacey Musgraves didn’t have the luxury of getting ready for her new holiday recording during the actual yuletide season. Even though she set out to work at pretty much the opposite time of the year, it still managed to inspire one of her best ideas.

“I started writing for this Christmas album in May,” Kacey recalls, “which is something that I’ve never experienced before. But I do love a theme, and I can easily jump into one when I get inspired by something. So I really ran with it.”

One of those moments of inspiration involved one of her heroes, Willie Nelson.

“Just one day, just the idea of telling somebody ‘Have a Willie nice Christmas!’ hit me,” she remembers. Once she wrote the clever new tune, her relationship with the Red-Headed Stranger paved the way for her to send it to him.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to work with Willie before. You know I really look up to him as a musician and songwriter. So, I thought that he would think it was fun and funny and just lighthearted,” she says of the song.

“I just said, ‘I don’t know what you think about this, but I think it could be really fun if you sang this with me.’ And he got a kick out of it and came and sang and played on the track.”

In the end, “A Willie Nice Christmas,” also led Kacey to follow a new musical direction she’s always wanted to explore.

“I also love reggae a lot. I’ve always kinda wanted to dabble in experimenting with those kinds of sounds, so I thought that it would be a fun, stoner, reggae, Christmas — you know — jam!”

Kacey’s first holiday effort, A Very Kacey Christmas, is out now.

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