It’s all happening for Kaitlin Butts, and it’s about damn time. Upon the release of her latest album What Else Can She Do, the country music world is finally waking up to what they’ve had in their midst for a while. Seasoned Kaitlin Butts fans in the Texas/Red Dirt scene were already on board since her 2019 single “White River.” Diehard fans have been here since her 2015 debut album Same Hell, Different Devil.
But now lots of folks are jumping on the Kaitlin Butts rocket ship. Kaitlin wasn’t just runner up for Saving Country Music’s Album of the Year in 2022, American Songwriter, Farce The Music, Whiskey Riff, Galleywinter, NPR, and many more were raving about Kaitlin Butts with their end-of-year accolades, and it’s put Kaitlin Butts on the breakout path.
Riding this momentum, Kaitlin Butts arrived in Key West, Florida for Mile 0 Fest, ready to wow audiences with a set on the main stage amphitheater Wednesday afternoon (1-25), and another set on the more sedate Sunset Green the next day. NASA and extraterrestrial life are not exactly a regular motif in country music (Garrett T. Capps notwithstanding), but Kaitlin has drawn inspiration from one of her recent singles called “Marfa Lights” to make interplanetary travel part of her presentation.
Kaitlin and her “Astro Not’s (Naughts?)” took the stage at Mile 0 Fest in reflective NASA spacesuits, with Butts herself in a space skirt and a starry cowboy hat that shimmered in a way that no picture will ever do justice. It’s been Kaitlin’s savvy nature with social media, and bringing a cool and kitschy approach to country music that has made her stand out from the crowd.
The presentation may be shiny and glittery, but the songs are often sad and serious, and country. What Else Can She Do didn’t earn its praise based off of style points. It’s how Kaitlin Butts unflinchingly addressed real world concerns plaguing women whose lives feel like their at dead ends. Kaitlin’s earnest and reverberative songwriting is what has allowed her to rise to the top of the heap. That, and the fact that she might be one of the best singers out there in country music at the moment.
At Mile 0 Fest, it was this sad bastard country music that she showcased, and that’s what her audience came for. At her second show on the week, Kaitlin also offered a devastating rendition of “In The Pines,” a new more upbeat song called “Roadrunner,” and sang one with her husband Cleto Cordero of Flatland Cavalry, who was acting as Kaitlin’s roadie for the fest. Both of her Mile 0 Fest sets ended on an upbeat note though, with Kaitlin turning in a rousing rendition of Shania Twain’s “Any Man of Mine.”
Kaitlin Butts recently released an acoustic EP called the Sad Yeehaw Sessions, which is a good way to describe her music: unabashedly country, and devastating with its stories. She also recently debuted on the main stage at Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth, as well as on the Grand Ole Opry.
Who knows where this rocket is headed, but 2022 was a good year for Kaitlin Butts, and her 2023 just started off with a blast.
– – – – – – – –
For continuing coverage from Mile 0 Fest, follow Saving Country Music on Instagram.