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Miranda Lambert

by on April 21, 2011

Miranda Lambert
Event on 2011-08-19 00:00:00
Time: 7:30 PMPrice: .50 Plus Tax & Fees
Venue: Harveys Outdoor Arena
Online Reservations: Purchase Tickets

On the caution-vs.-candor scale, its not hard to figure out where Miranda Lambert comes down. Im really not careful at all, she says. I probably should be. I pretty much dont have anything to hide, though. I never hid anything growing up. My parents were PIs, so I really couldnt.

She may have become a songbird instead of snooper, but in her own fashion, Lambert is following in the family business, as a private investigator of the hearta trade she recommences with relish in her third album, Revolution. The 25-year-old stars biggest hits have tended to be her boldest songs, so shes not about to put a lid on her plain-spokenness now.

I mean every word I say in every lyric of every song on this record, and every record Ive ever done, she declares. I would never take back one word or lyric or point Ive ever made, because its part of who I am. And there are plenty of artists who wouldnt do so much of that, if thats the kind of music youre into. But if youre into honesty, I have the records for you, she laughs.

In her most successful single to date, Gunpowder and Lead, Lambert declared that some little girls are made less of sugar and spice than more combustible substances. And the title track of her 2005 platinum debut, Kerosene, established her in the country music firmament as a figuratively and maybe even literally incendiary personality. But it may be no mistake that the new albums title, Revolution, could be taken as similarly aggressive or just a simple pledge of personal reinvention.

Im a little more stable in my life, and not the crazy, wild-eyed kid that was writing Kerosene at 18, she says. Ive been through a lot and grown up a lot on the road. And Ive always kind of been a little older than my age anyway. I have the regular 25-year-old small town girl side to me that likes to make cupcakes and live on a farm, and then I have this rowdy, crazy, headbanging, rock-star-girl side that is my life on the road. I feel this record shows more a complete picture of who I am.

On one end of the gamut lies the hard-rocking, vengeful Sin for a Sin, cowritten by Lambert with Blake Shelton, in which it sounds like there might be the hint of a homicide. Maybe, maybe not, she laughs, refusing to commit to an interpretation. Its basically about cheating, love gone wrong, and the death of something, whether its love or a person Thats trademark Mirandathe song on my record that most sounds like me from Kerosene or Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Nobody really gets to live out all their fantasies; I just get to sing mine in songs.

At the other end of the Revolution-ary spectrum is the tender but still thoroughly realistic Love Song, cowritten with Shelton and two members of Lady Antebellum. A song called Love Song I would never think would be on my record, she admits. You know what I mean Because I just dont sing songs like that. But this song is about real people in real love, not the fairy tale. And you know, I guess Ive reached a point where, its all right to maybe love somebody.

Lambert is an artist of many complementary qualities that only appear on the surface to be contradictions. You can even see it in some of the magazine covers shes appeared on. She was recently the focus of her first cover story in Country Weekly, after previously fronting an issue of No Depression, a publication usually devoted only to non-mainstream, critically acclaimed, alt-country singer-songwriters. Shes equally at home on the cover of First, a womens magazine (Mirandas Bliss Tips), and Garden & Gun (which trumpeted her as The New Loretta Lynn). People named her one of 2009s 100 Most Beautiful People just a year after Esquire named her Terrifying Woman of the Year.

She may be comfortable embodying qualities at the far extremes of a particular divide, but dont call her a centrist. I just think its boring to be straight down the middle vanilla, Lambert says. I have people that absolutely love me, and Im sure I have people that absolutely hate everything that I ever stand for. But thats good. At least people are passionate about something, and talking about you either way. But just down-the-middle plain, thats never been my style, personally or professionally.

That may have come as a surprise a few years ago to anyone who expected a certain acquiescence out of a former reality show contestant. Lambert came in third in the first season of Nashville Star, which certainly set up preconceptions about just what kind of artist shed turn out to be. Yet, with years of playing Texas nightclubs under her belt even as a teenager, she faced down Nashville executives with the same steely determination with which shed stared down rowdy bar crowds. And despite Music Rows rep for remaking impressionable artists in its own image, she says shes never faced resistance on her vision from anyone at Sony Nashville, on up to the label chairman.

Joe Galante is another person that absolutely let me be myself artistically. I dont know why, but Im incredibly thankful for it, and I dont want to question it too much. I feel sorry for people that dont have that. But I think a lot of it people might bring it on themselves, because if you dont know who you are, then its a lot easier to be swayed one direction or the other. And I came into this business it with such strong convictions. of: This is me. I can go back home to Texas and do what I do there playing in clubs, or I can try to become bigger. Anybody want to help me out here And its worked thankfully.

Her 2005 freshman effort, Kerosene, put her in an exclusive club, as one of only seven artists in the history of SoundScan to come out of the box at No. 1 on the country sales chart with a debut album. Critical support was immediately forthcoming: It was named one of the years 10 best albums by the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and, among many others. She picked up key nominations for the CMAs, Grammys, CMT Awards, and other honors, beating fellow newcomers Taylor Swift and Kellie Pickler to be named as the ACMs top new female vocalist.

In 2007, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend also debuted at No. 1 on the country chart. After a slew of top 20 singles, the sophomore album generated her first top 10 hit, Gunpowder and Lead. It was named one of the top 10 albums of the year by Entertainment Weekly, Blender, and dean of rock critics Robert Christgau. In the Village Voices annual all-genre poll of Americas music critics, it placed No. 15, the highest showing ever by a country album amid the usually rock- and hip-hop-favoring survey. It fared even betterNo. 1, to be exactin the Nashville Scenes annual poll of national critics who specialize in country. This year, our 96 voters handed Texas singer Miranda Lambert one of the most dominating victories in the polls history, the Scene wrote in announcing the results. (The critics also named Famous in a Small Town the years best single, as well as naming Lambert female vocalist of the year, songwriter of the year, and artist of the year.) It wasnt just journalists handing out the accolades, but the music industry, as Crazy Ex-Girlfriend won the coveted album of the year trophy at the 2008 Academy of Country Music Awards.

What to do for a three-peat

To some degree, we went with the school of If it aint broke, dont fix it, she says. We worked with the same guys to do the record that did my last twosame musicians, same producers. In the latter category are Frank Liddell and Mike Wrucke. Frank is such a great song guy And Wruckes the total brain behind the way my records sound.

But there are crucial differences, too. For one thing, Revolution includes 15 tracks instead of the Nashville-standard 10 or 11. To me, if theres a story to tell in 15 songs, then people get 15 songs. I really wanted it to feel like a piece of arta real body of work, a musical journey if you will. And it is an album. The whole album is this huge circle with a picture of my face at the end. If you dont have the whole thing, then you dont have the complete picture.

To ensure the album had both cohesiveness and spontaneity, the vast majority of it was recorded in one whirlwind session in early 2009 (excepting two tracks that were laid down last November). It was old school, says Lambert. We went in and cut the whole project in a week. I didnt want to go record two songs one day and then two weeks later go record some more, and so on. We did it all as a single project, a vibe record. Usually the studio is really stressful, and this time it was just fun. It just felt like making music not work.

Stylistically, she says, This record is countrya lot more country than the other two. And Im so glad about that. I didnt plan on writing more country songs or go into it with a style in mind, I just wrote what I felt and put it on the album. Of course, diehard traditionalists should be warned that, while shes capable of getting as pure honky-tonk as any young performer out there, Lambert is definitely a volume dealer. My bass player brought up a good point: You write country songs and put a rock beat to em. So Maintain the Pain is definitely a country lyric, but its got a classic rock sound to it.

And mind-set I still hear the classic Miranda Lambert lyric and voice and attitude. But I definitely feel like this records more well-rounded than the other two. I feel like its a little more grown up. Not that she didnt always have a certain precocity. My parents were private investigators, and I saw a lot and heard a lot growing up. As a family we went through financial hard ships while growing up, off and on we had to grow our own food. Going through all that really does stick with you, builds your character and lets you know who you are.

Miranda has been through some changes in the last 2 years, like moving from Texas to Oklahoma, where she bought a farm a few miles away from her boyfriend Blake Sheltons.

It is like moving to another country, if youre from Texas she interrupts, laughing. I have a little house on my parents place that Ive had for a long time. But I felt like I couldnt live 100 feet from my parents the rest of my life. So I bought a farm, and its been the most amazing place. I feel like I gained some independence by buying some land and some animals and raising chickens. I really feel very grown-up now

There is a measure of romantic contentedness in some of Revolutions songs, like the aforementioned Love Song, or even the wryly mocking opening track, Only Prettier. But if youre worried that Lambert might get a little too settled for her own musical good, dont. Was it hard to tap into tension when she was feeling that good about her personal life I found it amazingly easy, she counters. Being happy and in love is the worst thing for your figure and your country music songwriting. But even though Im happy and have a really great life right now, I found some angst.

The maturity of ballads like Virginia Bluebell and Love Song doesnt preclude a fair share of new material in which Lambert definitely still acts her impetuous age. I wrote from my perspective and where I am at 25 years old. It is who I am, and its pretty honest. That bluntness extends to interviews. Ive always been open and really say my opinion. Not in a rude way; I dont ever want it to come across as cocky. Im not cocky, Im confident. I just think I have something to say. If people dont like it, then they dont like it. You can agree to disagree.

You may get an even greater sense of Lamberts firebrand side from Heart Like Mine, in which the singer writes about her expectations of the hereafter which involves Jesus greeting her with a couple of wine glasses.

I grew up in church, and Ive been a Christian my whole life. My mom always says I cut my teeth on a church pew. It could be autobiographical in a way, because Ive definitely had my share of being judged but Im playing a character a little bit in every song, too.

Lambert is a character, in a lot of peoples mindsand while she doesnt actively try to go against the Music Row grain, she doesnt mind if shes perceived that way.

I hope Ive been able to break open some doors for more open-mindedness in country. People have told me I have. But its been a lot of work, and its been a lot of putting my feet in the dirt and saying, heres the line I wont cross. I may have lost a lot of things for it or I may have gained a lot of things. But I know that I sleep great at night.

I hope to do this forever, whether it will be performing for 10,000 fans or singing in some bar, 20 years from now.

Fortunately for country fans, were still at the relative beginning of Lamberts career, able to relish a performer who only seems to be as seasoned as someone in her 40s while really having decades ahead of her. May she continue maturing in all the right waysand failing to lose her youthful feistiness in all the right ones, too. As they say: Viva la Revolution.

at Harveys Lake Tahoe Outdoor Amphitheatre
18 Highway 50
Stateline, United States

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