Kacey Musgraves - Deeper Well Album Cover
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‘Heart of the Woods’ by Kacey Musgraves - Lyrics & Meaning

March 20, 2024 11:26 am GMT
Last Edited March 21, 2024 3:47 pm GMT

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Kacey Musgraves - 'Heart of the Woods'

Label: Interscope Records/MCA Nashville

Release Date: March 15th, 2024

Album: Deeper Well

Producers: Daniel Tashian, Ian Fitchuk & Kacey Musgraves

Songwriters: Daniel Tashian, Ian Fitchuk & Kacey Musgraves

The Background:

If there is one thing to know about Kacey Musgraves’ fifth studio album, Deeper Well – which hit streaming services on March 15 – it is that themes of nature and the outdoors are evident throughout the eagerly awaited project’s 14 stellar songs, all co-produced and co-written by the Texas native herself.

Track number eight, titled ‘Heart of the Woods’, arguably captures these themes the best, utilizing terms like “the roots of the trees” and more to tell a sweet story that Vogue describes as “an ode to her new home deep in a Tennessee forest”, after a life of being on the road and bouncing from city to city.

Given the fact that Deeper Well focuses heavily on the changes in Musgraves’ life after the age of ‘Heart of the Woods’ fits the bill beautifully, exemplifying the fact that she finally “feels really grounded” at this moment in time.

The Sound:

‘Heart of the Woods’ is a song that lovers of folk and Americana have championed as having a calming presence, touching on the overall sound via X (formerly Twitter).

“Heart of the Woods is very ethereal. The banjo in this is so pretty. Sonically, I love this and would listen to this sitting in the sun on the beach somewhere,” one listener spilled.

“Heart of the Woods was made for me!! I grew up with a hunting/fishing dad who took me on his adventures in the woods, making up stories of little friends/treasures left for us. He also works in the woods. I’m also a horticulturist and worked as a native plant conservationist,” another gushed.

Beginning with an instrumental introduction, Kacey Musgraves quickly enters the fray with her euphoric vocals. Introducing a subtle drum beat in the midst of verse one – as well as a finger-picked acoustic guitar, a hint of a banjo and a touch of a pedal steel guitar as the song progresses – ‘Heart of the Woods’ is deeply evocative, despite maintaining a gentle, simple sound from start to finish.

The Meaning:

“Under the ground, there's a neighborhood that can't be seen

Communicating through the roots of the trees

And up in the trees, there are voices that are echoing

A million different languages, songs we sing”

As mentioned in a few interviews, ‘Heart of the Woods’ uses references to the “network of mycelia beneath the forest floor” – which Musgraves learned about via mycologist, Paul Stamets, and his Fantastic Fungi documentary – to tell the story of her life. She feels like her “feet are firmly planted” and she is no longer bouncing from place to place like she did during the success of Golden Hour.

In the first verse of the soon-to-be smash hit, Musgraves discusses the varying networks of nature. The lines “Under the ground, there's a neighborhood that can't be seen / Communicating through the roots of the trees” revolve taroundo the mycelia, while the lyrics “And up in the trees, there are voices that are echoing / A million different languages, songs we sing” refer to the birds.

“It's in our nature to look out for each other

In the heart of the woods. mm

When there's danger. we'll take care of each other

In the heart of the woods (The woods), mm”

Transitioning into the chorus, Musgraves sings about how these networks intertwine in a positive way, looking out for and taking care of one another. It is a nod to the beautiful interconnectedness of not only humanity, but of nature as a whole, opposed to the disjointed chaos she might have felt during some times in the past, when she was jarringly launched into the limelight.

Followed by a second chorus – sandwiched between an ethereal bridge and an equally elegant outro – the remainder of ‘Heart of the Woods’ continues to tell this same story.

What has Kacey Musgraves said about ‘Heart of the Woods'?

Given the fact that Deeper Well dropped just a few days ago, Musgraves has not yet said much regarding the individual tracks on the project. However, she did touch on the instrumental nature of ‘Heart of the Woods’ in an interview with NPR.

"I love acoustic instruments so much. The warm, wooden, organic sounds. I knew that this record would be different in that way. With star-crossed, I think it was a little bit harder-edged – it was a divorce album. It was more dramatic and acerbic, there were a lot more electronic instruments,” she prefaced. “This time, I was like, 'Okay, I'm older now. I'm a little bit wiser. I live in the heart of the woods. My feet are firmly planted in who I am'. I just feel really grounded, and I wanted the instruments to reflect that. There's nothing more grounded-sounding to me than a good old finger-picked acoustic guitar, or like a hint of a banjo here or there, or like just a touch of pedal steel guitar".

She touched on the overall inspiration of ‘Heart of the Woods’, and paid tribute to the influence of Paul Stamets’ celebrated documentary, Fantastic Fungi.

"Paul Stamets is one of my heroes. He's a mycologist. A brilliant guy. You should watch the documentary called Fantastic Fungi. It's such a trip, but he's an advocate for plant therapy and psilocybin use,” Musgraves explained. “In his documentary, he talks about the network of mycelium that's under the forest floor — it's communicating intelligently through the roots of the trees, and it sends out signals like a sentient force, which is really trippy. So [‘Heart of the Woods’] opens kind of talking about the mycelium network”.

For the full lyrics to Kacey Musgraves' ‘Heart of the Woods', see below:

“[Verse 1]

Under the ground, there's a neighborhood that can't be seen

Communicating through the roots of the trees

And up in the trees, there are voices that are echoing

A million different languages, songs we sing

[Chorus]

It's in our nature to look out for each other

In the heart of the woods. mm

When there's danger. we'll take care of each other

In the heart of the woods (The woods), mm

[Bridge]

Ooh

Ooh

[Chorus]

It's in our nature to look out for each other

In the heart of the woods. mm

When there's danger. we'll take care of each other

In the heart of the woods (The woods), mm

[Outro]

Mm-mm, mm-mm

Heart of the woods”

For more on Kacey Musgraves, see below:

Written by Melanie Rooten
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