Miranda Lambert has earned countless album of the year honors, a trio of Grammy nominations and is currently headlining her own Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars Tour (with male openers, for an added dose of girl power). The Texas singer is also part of this summer’s reignited Lilith Fair Tour and the Bonnaroo Music Festival.
Despite so much acclaim, it’s only now fans seem to be truly discovering the Texas-bred singer. Current album Revolution has produced Lambert’s most successful single to date, White Liar; and new single The House That Built Me is already poised to eclipse that feat. Revolution earned album of the year at the 2010 Academy of Country Music awards; and Lambert was named female vocalist of the year, besting Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Reba McEntire and Lee Ann Womack.
“I think people are just getting to know me better through my music,” Lambert says. (More Lambert trivia: She loves Beyoncé and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.)
Lambert headlines the sixth annual A Day in the Country Saturday at the Showgrounds at Sam Houston Race Park. The daylong event also features Joe Nichols, Steel Magnolia, Sarah Buxton, the Band Perry and the Trailer Choir.
“Revolution is my favorite album I’ve done. I kind of wanted to get out of the whole crazy-girl-with-the-shotgun type thing. I think I was getting pushed in a corner a little bit. I was ready to show a different side of myself.”
Revolution still simmers with Lambert’s signature fire, but she tempers the disc’s generous 15 tracks with humor, wit and vulnerability. White Liar’s pointed tale of a cheating boyfriend boasts a cheeky video with Lambert as a sly bride-to-be and singer Jamey Johnson as a preacher. And The House That Built Me is one of the record’s most poignant tunes, a nostalgic snapshot of family and childhood (“I thought if I could touch this place or feel it/The brokenness inside me might start healing”), anchored by her heartfelt delivery.
The disc’s first single, Dead Flowers, is a powerful moment — a dramatic swirl of drums, guitars and pleading, desperate vocals. But it stalled at radio, where programmers prefer more simplistic takes on relationships.
“I was really upset about that single, we kind of pulled it,” Lambert says. “The label just thought, ‘Let’s put something else out. It’s not gaining momentum.’ I understand, but it was so frustrating.
“That’s probably my favorite song that I’ve ever written, because I wrote it by myself, and it’s important to me.”
It’s hard to believe Lambert’s first real shot came during the inaugural season of Nashville Star, a countrified spin on American Idol that ran for six scattershot seasons. She finished third(!) in 2003 behind Buddy Jewell and John Arthur Martinez.
It goes without saying that Lambert has far eclipsed any of the show’s contestants and has left the “reality show” tag in the dust.
“I think it’s good to stand on your own two feet and get away from that stigma, that big yellow sticker on the front of your records,” she says. “Kelly Clarkson’s a perfect example.
“I know Nashville Star is exactly the reason I’m talking to you today. But I also think that sometimes reality-show fame is short-lived, and I really want to have a long career. I’m serious about this.”