By September of 2009, Miranda Lambert had already won over critics and sold more than a million records (a spectacular number, considering the lukewarm support afforded her by country radio). It was Lambert’s third album, however (Revolution, released 09/29/09), that fully (and finally) ascended her into the upper tier of this era’s country music icons. After two widely lauded efforts, Revolution was a revelation–even-handed and mature, the singer/songwriter parted ways with her trademark tales of revenge in favor of a more under-the-skin approach to emotional exposition.
Her gamble–stepping firmly away from the type of song that had won her highest degree of notoriety–proved a wise move, both artistically and commercially: Revolution earned yet more standout reviews while spawning a Grammy nomination (Female Country Performance for “Dead Flowers”) and her first #1 single, “White Liar.”
Lambert edged out Brad Paisley by just 4.9% to capture the title of Country Artist of the Year in The 9513’s 2nd Annual Country Music Awards. Her performance of the Tom Douglas/Allen Shamblin-penned song “The House That Built Me” also claimed “Song of the Year,” topping Jamey Johnson’s “High Cost of Living” by more than 20%.
Lambert was one of three acts to win two awards: Zac Brown Band handily bested its competition to be named New Artist Of The Year, and the Georgia boys impressed voters enough to squeak out a victory in a tight race for Group Of The Year. Elsewhere, western swing outfit Asleep At The Wheel notched two wins—Texas Artist Of The Year and Best Album Cover—on the strength of its collaboration with Willie Nelson (titled Willie and the Wheel). Ryan Bingham’s involvement with Crazy Heart was not a factor during the eligibility period.
While the voice of country’s future took home this year’s big honor, a legendary voice from country music’s past sang his way beyond Revolution to score a win for Album Of The Year. Gene Watson–who notched a #1 hit in 1981 with “Fourteen Carat Mind”–performed well among all three voting blocs to best Lambert in the overall tally by just a few percent.
Ballots for these awards were tabulated from three voting blocs: The 9513’s staff, readers who made 50 or more comments during the eligibility period, and the public at large.
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