In her hit single “Baggage Claim,” Miranda Lambert sings about the kind of luggage you wish would get lost. “I have been dragging around your sensitive ego,” she tells an ex-friend or lover -- soon concluding, with characteristic swagger, that she’ll “drop your troubles off at the conveyor belt/I hand you a ticket to go get it yourself.” Mr. Needy is left doing loops on the suitcase carousel while Lambert’s rocking out in the unloading zone.
With the release of Four the Record, Miranda comes bearing some baggage of her own – the precious kind, well-earned over the course of three highly loved (and unanimously platinum) prior albums. Her accolades could fill a whole set of trunks.
To point out just one carry-on case’s worth of kudos: She is country’s reigning female vocalist of the year, as bestowed by both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music. She’s won the prized album of the year trophy from both organizations, as well – from the ACMs for her second record, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and from the CMAs and ACMs for her third, Revolution. She received the top country female vocal performance honor at the most recent Grammy Awards for “The House That Built Me.” And, lest all her honorifics be so high-minded, she’s been named one of People magazine’s Most Beautiful People and one of Maxim’s Hottest Women of Country. Frequent flyers can hardly rack up more awards points than that.
So when “Baggage Claim” was released to country radio stations in August, Lambert realized she was something she’d never expected to become: an automatic add.
She’s thrilled with her own radio success because, prior to Revolution, she’d never even had a top 5 single. Two years ago, as that make-or-break effort was prepared for takeoff, you didn’t have to listen far to hear whispers that maybe those same cutting-edge qualities that made her an award-show queen and press darling would be the kiss of death when the commercial rubber hit the road. But in 2010, she finally earned the triple crown – love from industry orgs, critics, and radio – when she bagged her first three No. 1 singles with “White Liar”, “The House That Built Me” and “Heart Like Mine.”
Naturally, with “Baggage Claim” burning a kerosene-fueled trail up the chart in advance of Four the Record, she approached the impending release of this album with a good deal more certainty. Not that anyone would have called her unconfident before now, mind you. But…
“I’ve never had an album release coincide with a hit, ever,” she points out, in the midst of her enthusiasm about the success of “Baggage Claim” as a teaser for the new album. “Revolution came out on a single that died in the 30s.” (For the record, that would be “Dead Flowers,” which marked the very last time that programmers were unsure whether to take a chance on Lambert.) “So I’m excited and so thankful. Because I don’t blame the program directors and DJs who used to have to put my songs on and have the listeners go, ‘What the hell is this?’ I am different, and I am a little edgy. But I’ve played so many tours and been on the road so much, I feel like people get me now. Or else they think, ‘She’s not going away, so we might as well just start liking it’,” she laughs.
Of course, merely being worn down has nothing to do with what made America fall in love with ‘Ran, as she’s known to her fans.
The fascination began in earnest when she was a humble yet feisty runner-up on Nashville Star in 2003, standing out as the most independent and least likely of all reality-show contestants. Sony Nashville quickly signed her with the understanding that, even though she was still a teen, she had the moxie and know-how to write many of her own songs and pick her own team, like co-producer and fellow Texan Frank Liddell. Reflective singles like “Famous in a Small Town” proved her wise beyond her tender years, and rowdy ones like “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” proved her bold beyond all expectations of just how fresh a country freshman should be.
Her recent nuptials to fellow country star Blake Shelton only heightened fans’ natural curiosity: Is she really a raging, red-hot rock & roll mama or blushing country bride?
The answer, of course, as heard in Four the Record, is all of the above and then some. The new 14-song set is epic in its range of musical styles and even the varied expressiveness in Lambert’s unmistakable voice. She’s clearly in a class with the slim handful of superstar “album artists” whose every full-length release is anxiously anticipated as an event that’s much more than just the sum of its singles.
“My sole mission with the Revolution album was to go ‘Hey, get me out of this corner you’re pushing me in. I’m not just ‘Kerosene’ and ‘Gunpowder and Lead’ and all that.’ I mean, that’s part of me, but I have so much more to say, and I definitely think I’ve been able to do that.” The sense of “mission accomplished” was cemented when, against all odds, it was two of the last album’s most subdued and sensitive songs, “The House That Built Me” and “Heart Like Mine,” that were the ones to take her to the top of the country chart (for four solid weeks, in the case of “House”).
When it came time to record Four the Record, the methodology wasn’t much different. As before, Lambert did a lot of the writing herself or in tandem with friends, while also picking selections from Music Row’s favorite tunesmiths (including Chris Stapleton and Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley) and the leading lights of alt-country (this time, Gillian Welch and Allison Moorer).
But while Revolution was recorded in two sessions of a week or less, the recording of Four the Record was even more compact, taking a mere five days from start to finish. Needless to say, getting things done in such a hurry represents an artistic choice, not an economic one.
“If everybody can get in one vibe and stay there the whole week, it makes it sound like an album, instead of chopped up,” Lambert maintains. “I’m a creature of habit, so I feel that, if this is working, let’s do it the same way. We started at 10 a.m. and went to midnight every night, and after the first night, everybody got so comfortable.” It didn’t hurt that the vast majority of musicians had worked on her previous three albums, too, as had trusted co-producer Liddell.
Even after recording Four the Record all day Monday through Friday, most of the same team reconvened on Saturday to record the four songs that were needed to wrap up the Pistol Annies’ previously-in-progress album.
As most country fans know by now, the Annies are the all-gal trio that Lambert formed with friends Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley, and their frisky debut came out in August…released by Sony as a digital-only album. Expectations were modest. So when Hell On Heels debuted at No.1 on the country sales chart and in the pop top 10, the pressing plants got to work trying to meet the demand from retail stores who wanted to carry the disc, too.
What’s nearly comical is how the recording of Four the Record, not to mention the Annies’ Hell on Heels, came right on the heels of Lambert’s short honeymoon. She went into the studio just a week after her wedding. For most mortals, recording a solo album or finishing up a group album or exchanging vows with the love of your life would be pressure enough, without combining those three things into a potentially lethal cocktail.
But, as most of the watching world has figured out by now, Lambert is not the type to easily buckle just because she’s squeezed three major life events into the middle of her tour schedule. “My goal was to have everything lined up and have the songs picked out before the wedding,” she says. (It came down to the wire: At her rehearsal dinner, Miranda was still doing some business, as she took songwriter/friend Kasey Musgraves outside to beg for permission to cut “Mama’s Broken Heart,” a song without which she felt she couldn’t make the album.) Remarkably, anyway, everything went according to plan, and Lambert wasn’t putting pen to paper or dialing up publishers during her newlywed week off. “It was great, because I got to clear my head a little bit before going in,” she says.
So if you hear some tranquility in the album—from, you know, a woman whose popular image hasn’t always shouted softness—that’s not an illusion. You might sense that peace most in the closing “Oklahoma Sky,” which Allison Moorer wrote specifically for Lambert.
There are other guests on Four the Record that meant a lot to Miranda, including guest vocalists from Patty Loveless to the women of Little Big Town. But Moorer’s “Oklahoma Sky” was the ultimate wedding present: a country benediction for the bride’s new beginning.
“I’m from Texas,” Lambert says—perhaps you’ve heard?—“and we’re Texas-proud and annoying and all that. I will always be from Texas. But now with this new life, I’ve moved away from my family and started my own and married an Okie. I feel like it’s my ode to my beautiful new home state. Just as much as I love Texas, I now love Oklahoma, and it’s my song for my life there now.”
Whatever sky she’s under, fans in all 50 states (and beyond) will want to share the vista with her. And they’ll surely let Lambert bring all the bags.
4 ACM Awards for "Over You" Record of the Year, Song of the Year (artist), Song of the Year (writer), and Female Vocalist of the Year
5 ACM Award nominations for Entertainer of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, Single Record of the Year for "Over You" and Song of the Year for "Over You" (artist and composer)
2 CMC Awards (Australia) nominations for International Artist of the Year and International Video of the Year for "Over You" and "Fastest Girl in Town"
World Music Awards nomination for Best Live Act
Headlining Locked & Reloaded with Dierks Bentley and special guests
Appearances and performances on 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards, The Talk, Entertainment Tonight, GAC Backstory
2 CMA Awards for Female Vocalist of the Year, Song of the Year for "Over You"
2 ACM Awards for Female Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year - Four The Record
2 ACA Awards for Female Single of the Year for "Over You," Female Video of the Year for "Over You" and Most Played Radio Track for "Over You"
CMT Music Award for Female Video of the Year for "Over You"
Lone Star Music Best Female Vocal Performance for Four The Record
GRAMMY nomination for Best Country Album for Four The Record
4 CMA nominations for Female Vocalist of the Year, Song of the Year "Over You," Music Video of the Year "Over You," Album of the Year - Four The Record
2 ACM nominations for Female Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year - Four The Record
American Music Award nomination for Favorite Female Country Artist
4 CMT Music Awards nominations for Video of the Year "Over You," Female Video of the Year "Over You," Group Video of the Year (Pistol Annies) "Hell On Heels," and USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year (Pistol Annies)
4 American Country Awards nominations for Artist of the Year: Female, Single of the Year: Female "Over You," Touring Artist of the Year and Music Video: Female "Over You"
Teen Choice Awards nomination for Choice Music: Female Country Artist
VH1's Do Something Awards nomination for Most Charitable Couple with Blake Shelton
2 Lone Star Music Awards nominations for Best Vocal Performance: Female Four The Record and Best Country Album (Pistol Annies) Hell On Heels
Headlining Miranda Lambert: On Fire tour with special guests Chris Young and Jerrod Niemann
Four The Record certified Gold
"Over You" digital single certified Platinum
1 million Twitter followers; 4th Country artist to achieve this after Taylor Swift, Dolly Parton and Blake Shelton
People Magazine's "Most Beautiful Women of 2012"
CMT Artist of the Year
13th Annual Critics' Poll: Top Female Vocalist of the Year, #2 Artist of the Year, #4 Live Act of the Year, #4 Songwriter of the Year, #5 Single of the Year for "Over You," #9 Single of the Year for "Fastest Girl in Town"
Appearances and performances on Blake Shelton's Not So Family Christmas Special, CMT Artists of the Year, iHeartRadio Music Festival, CCMA Awards, The View, Good Morning America, ACM Awards, The Talk, The Voice, 46th Super Bowl, Law & Order: SVU, CMT Awards, CMA Music Festival, CMA Awards, CMA Music Festival: Country's Night To Rock
CMA Female Vocalist of the Year
4 ACM Awards: Female Vocalist of the Year, Single Record of the Year “The House That Built Me”, Song of the Year “The House That Built Me”, Video of the Year “The House That Built Me”
Grammy Best Female Country Vocal Performance “The House That Built Me”
2 CMA Nominations for Musical Event for “Coal Miner’s Daughter” with Loretta Lynn and Sheryl Crow, Female Vocalist of the Year, Entertainer of the Year
6 ACM Nominationa for Female Vocalist of the Year, Single Record of the Year for “The House That Built Me”, Song of the Year for “The House That Built Me”, Video of the Year for “The House That Built Me”, Video of the Year for “Only Prettier”, Vocal Event of the Year for “Coal Miner’s Daughter” with Loretta Lynn and Sheryl Crow
4 Grammy Award Nominations for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for “The House That Built Me”, Song of the Year (presented to songwriters) for “The House That Built Me”, Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for “Bad Angel” with Dierks Bentley And Jamey Johnson, Best Country Song (presented to songwriters) for “The House That Built Me” – 2011 Best Country Album for Revolution
3 CMT Award Nominations for Video of the Year for “The House That Built Me”, Female Video of the Year for “The House That Built Me”, Collaborative Video of the Year for “Coal Miner’s Daughter” with Loretta and Sheryl Crow
2 ACA Nominations for Artist of the Year: Female, Single of the Year: Female for "Heart Like Mine"
Billboard Music Awards Nomination for Top Country Song for "The House That Built Me"
Fourth studio album, Four The Record, debuts at #1, currently certified Gold
Headlining The Revolution Continues tour with special guests Justin Moore and Josh Kelley
Rolling Stone's 50 Best Singles of 2011 "Mama's Broken Heart"
Formed trio Pistol Annies with Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley - released digital only album Hell On Heels which debuted at #1
Appearances and performances on ACM Girls' Night Out, GRAMMY Awards, The Voice, Live! with Regis and Kelly, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Talk, Chelsea Lately, CMA Music Festival: Country's Night To Rock (ABC), CMA Music Festival, ACM Awards, CMA Awards, Ellen DeGeneres Show, Good Morning America, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
4th Annual Cause for the Paws event raises over $300K
12th Annual Country Music Critics' Poll - Top Artist of the Year, Top Songwriter of the Year, Top Female Vocalist, #2 Album of the Year, Best Singles for "Baggage Claim" and "Heart Like Mine" (#3 & 9), #4 Live Act
3 CMA Awards: Female Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year for Revolution, Video of the Year for “The House That Built Me”
CMT Female Video of the Year for “White Liar”
3 ACM Awards: Top Female Vocalist Award, Album of the Year Award for Revolution, Video of the Year Award for “White Liar”
9 CMA Nominations for Female Vocalist of the Year, Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year for Revolution, Single of the Year – “The House That Built Me”, Single of the Year – “White Liar”, Song of the Year – “White Liar”, Video of the Year – “The House That Built Me”, Video of the Year – “White Liar", Musical Event for “Bad Angel” with Dierks Bentley and Jamey Johnson
5 ACM Nominations for Top Female Vocalist, Album of the Year for Revolution, Single Record of the Year for “White Liar”, Song of the Year (artist/composer) for “White Liar” Video of the Year for “White Liar”
Grammy Award Nomination for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for “Dead Flowers”
CMT Award Nomination for Video of the Year for “White Liar”
2 Teen Choice Awards Nominations for Choice Music: Female Country Artist, Choice Music: Country Song, “The House that Build Me”
2 Inspirational Country Music Awards Nominations for Mainstream Inspirational Country Song for “The House That Built Me”, Video for “The House That Built Me”
4 American Country Awards Nominations for Artist of the Year: Female, Album of the Year: Revolution, Single of the Year: Female “White Liar”, Music Video: Female “White Liar”
Maxim’s Hottest Women of Country
11th Annual Country Music Critics’ Poll – Top Artist of the Year, Top Female Vocalist, Best Singles for "The House That Built Me" and "Only Prettier"
“White Liar” digital single certified Gold
Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI)’s “10 Songs I Wish I’d Written for “White Liar”
Headlining CMT on Tour: Miranda Lambert Revolution with special guest Eric Church and introducing Josh Kelley.
Special guest on Brooks & Dunn Last Rodeo Tour
Headlining Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars’ tour. Special guests are Eric Church, Chris Young, James Otto, Wade Bowen, David Nail, Randy Houser, Jake Owen and Luke Bryan
Lilith Fair tour (6 dates)
Special guest on Brad Paisley’s American Saturday Night Tour
Appearances and performances on GRAMMY Nomination Concert Live, CMA Music Festival: Country's Night To Rock (ABC), Extreme Makeover Home Edition, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Brooks & Dunn: The Last Rodeo, ACM Awards, CMT Awards, The Today Show, CMA Music Festival
Hearts & Tails benefit for the greater Texoma community; funds helped build new animal shelter in Tishomingo, OK
3rd Annual Cause for the Paws event raises $91K
CMA Nomination for Female Vocalist of the Year
2 ACM Nominations for Top Female Vocalist, Single Record of the Year for “Gunpowder & Lead”
CMT Award Nomination for Female Video of the Year for “More Like Her”
Revolution was #4 in Time Magazine’s Top 10 Albums of 2009. Brad Paisley was the only other country artist to make the cut.
“White Liar” was #7 in Time Magazine’s Top 10 Songs of 2009. It was the only country single included.
Entertainment Weekly “Revolution – Rating: A – The Best Country Album of 2009”
People Magazine’s “100 Most Beautiful People”
Seventeen Magazine’s “Girls That Rock”
Third studio album, Revolution, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Country Album Chart and debuted #8 on Billboard’s Top 200, making Lambert the third country artist to have all three albums debut at #1 the first week.
Revolution received rare perfect reviews from countless publications including 4 stars from Rolling Stone and USA Today, an ‘A’ from Entertainment Weekly and exuberant praise from SPIN, NY Times, Washington Post and more. Many have claimed Revolution as the “Best Album of the Year” in any genre including Houston Chronicle and NPR’s All Things Considered.
Special guest on Kenny Chesney’s Sun City Carnival Tour
Appearances and performances on ACM Awards, CMA Music Festival: Country's Night To Rock (ABC), CMA Awards, Good Morning America, Ellen DeGeneres Show, ACM Artist of the Decade Special: George Strait, Bonnie Hunt Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, CMA Music Festival
Second annual Cause for the Paws event raises $125K
Academy of Country Music’s Album of the Year Award for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
2 CMA Nominations for Female Vocalist of the Year, Single of the Year for “Gunpowder & Lead”
3 ACM Nominations for Top Female Vocalist, Album of the Year for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Single Record of the Year for “Famous in a Small Town”
Grammy Award Nomination for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for “Famous in a Small Town”
“Gunpowder & Lead” digital single and master ringtone certified Gold
“Terrifying Woman of the Year” by Esquire’s Esky Music Awards
US Weekly’s “Hot Hollywood Stars of the Year”
Touring fairs, festivals and clubs, co-headlining tour with Blake Shelton
Appearances and performances on ACM Awards, CMA Music Festival: Country's Night To Rock (ABC), CMT Awards, CMA Awards, CMT Giants: Alan Jackson, GAC Origins, CBS Early Show, CMA Music Festival
Launched Annual Cause for the Paws event benefitting the Humane Society of East Texas - raising $118K
Academy of Country Music’s Top New Female Vocalist Award
CMA Nomination for Female Vocalist of the Year
ACM Nomination for Top New Female Vocalist
Grammy Award Nomination for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for “Kerosene“
“Best in Entertainment” in Cosmo Girls’ Summer 2007 Hot 100 List
Crazy Ex Girlfriend was a unanimous critics favorite and topped virtually every year-end list from being named Washington Post’s 2007 Album of the Year to Top 10 with Time Magazine, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Blender, Chicago Tribune and the list goes on.
Sophomore album, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, debuts at #1, currently certified Gold
Toured with Toby Keith
Appearances and performances on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, ACM Awards, CMA Music Festival: Country's Night To Rock (ABC), CMT Awards, CMA Awards, Good Morning America, CBS Early Show, ABS Special "Elvis, Viva Las Vegas," CMT Cross Country with Jack Ingram, ABC Prime-Time, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Fox and Friends, The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, The View, CMA Music Festival
2 CMA Nominations for Horizon Award, Music Video of the Year for “Kerosene”
2 ACM Nominations for Top New Female Vocalist, Video of the Year for “Kerosene”
3 CMT Award Nominations for Female Video of the Year for “Kerosene”, Breakthrough Video of the Year for “Kerosene”, Video Director of the Year for “Kerosene” (awarded to video’s director)
Toured with George Strait, Dierks Bentley, Jason Aldean and others
Appearances and performances on ACM Awards, CMA Music Festival, CMA Awards, Good Morning America, Austin City Limits
Academy of Country Music’s Cover Girl Fresh Face of Country Music Award
17th Annual Music Row Award – Critics Pick Award
CMA Nomination for Horizon Award
ACM Nomination for Top New Female Vocalist
Debut album, Kerosene, debuts at #1, currently certified Platinum
Toured with Keith Urban
Appearances and performances on ACM Awards, CMA Awards, The Today Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Isaac Mizrahi Show, Imus in the Morning, CMT Top 100 Duets
Four the Record Track by Track
All Kinds of Kinds
(Phillip Coleman/Don Henry)
“My producer, Frank Liddell, doesn’t ever push songs on me, so sometimes I let him know it’s ok to bring me some songs! Because when you write your own songs, people hesitate to send in outside songs—or if they do, every song is trying to be ‘Gunpowder and Lead.’ So he sent me some songs that weren’t even pitches, just songs that he had loved over the years, and ‘All Kinds of Kinds’ was one of them.
“This song kind of reflects where I am in life. I’ve traveled a lot and experienced so much on the road. I got to know all kinds of people and become more open-minded about different types of people and different personalities. Plus, I haven’t had a lot of humor in my past albums. And being married to Blake you can’t help but have a sense of humor. So ‘All Kinds of Kinds’ was the perfect song to have some fun with but to also have a pretty cool message.”
(Natalie Hemby/Luke Laird)
“Natalie and I have written before on Revolution, and she and Luke Laird are amazing writers. I always loved that song of theirs, but I never had the guts to cut it before now. I feel I’ve reached the point in my career where I was ready. It was one of the most fun things to do in the studio because I’ve never gotten to sing through a mic quite like that.
“It’s sexy, but it’s still got this cute humor, so it’s not raunchy. And it’s one of those that, whether I’m playing it for people on the bus or my parents and their friends or the Pistol Annies (Ash and Ang), the girls in particular are always up on their feet grooving to that song. It’s the one that makes any girl feel like, ‘Yeah, I’m hot right now!’”
Fastest Girl in Town
(Miranda Lambert/Angaleena Presley)
“It’s totally signature Miranda. I feel like ‘Fastest Girl in Town’ could have been on Kerosene. And I love that because I still have that thread that’s the same as my first album. I’ve grown a lot as a singer/songwriter, but ‘Fastest Girl in Town’ is a staple for what somebody would expect for me to sound like, and it’s so fun. I can’t wait to play it live.”
“I’m really proud of that song; the message and the words just poured out of me. I try to write at least one or two songs on each record by myself, because I want to keep digging and finding that close connection to telling my story in my music. Co-writing is so awesome, and often it’s easier to me than forcing myself to finish a song alone. But I feel like people really get to know the true artist in you when you have a song you wrote all by yourself. I was engaged and on the road with Blake when I wrote that song. He was on stage, and it just kind of came to me, as I just thought, ‘Man, I’m so blessed to have this person that I’m just safe with, that I can be my whole self.’”
Mama’s Broken Heart
(Brandy Clark/Shane McAnally/Kasey Musgraves)
“It was almost hard to choose between that one and ‘Baggage Claim’ for the first single. I love this song. I actually wasn’t supposed to have it. Kasey Musgraves is a friend of mine. We’re both from east Texas, a town apart. I’ve known her since she was 10 years old. She recently signed a record deal, and she saved this song for herself. Kasey was a guest at our rehearsal dinner, and I knew I was going in the studio the week after the wedding. I just pulled her aside at the dinner and told her that it’s absolutely one of my favorite songs, and I wanted her to consider letting me record it. She emailed me later and said, ‘If I can sing on the song, I would feel better.’ And she ended up singing beautiful harmonies on the track and letting me have the song for my album, which I am so thankful for. This song feels like a song I could have written; I really connect with it. I wish I had written it!
“It’s a little bit similar to ‘Only Prettier,’ in that it has that same kind of poking at Southern belles and the Southern-ness of being prim and proper. I was reading the book The Help, and one of the girls in the story has this mom that’s constantly on her about being prim and proper and dressing up and looking perfect. I just loved that reference because people—not just mothers—will judge you when you go into a downward spiral if your heart is broken. But it’s not theirhearts that are broken.”
“That’s the other song on the record that I wrote by myself. As a girl, you wait your whole life to get your first diamond. When I had gotten my ring, I developed this obsessive relationship with it. I was constantly looking at it with the light hitting the stone. And so, being a songwriter, and leaning more toward real life songs than happy ones, I just started writing that song in a hotel room in L.A. when I was there for the GRAMMY Nominations Concert. It’s a sad, lonesome song. I didn’t want it to be about a ring. I wanted you to think that at the beginning, and then realize that it’s a song about this girl being engaged, and she actually doesn’t want to be.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with Patty Loveless and also a lot of time listening to her sing. I really wanted to write a song for this album that Patty could sing on because I’m such a huge fan of hers. It was a dream come true for me to have her sing on this song. When I heard the mastered version of the album, and I heard her vocal for the first time, I started bawling. ‘Patty Loveless is on my record!’ I was glad that I had that reaction because then I thought, ‘Okay, I still have my passion. I’m not jaded.’”
Same Old You
“I’ve gotten to be good friends with Brandi Carlile. She’s one of my favorite artists and an amazing singer/songwriter. She’s kind of a rocker, but she loves Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline. She said she wrote this song and was going to cut it but didn’t think she could pull it off. She felt that the song was a better fit for me with my attitude and voice. I thought it was very old-school. It could have been on the Pistol Annies album. The Pistol Annies have really inspired me to have some more rootsy country tracks on my album, like this and ‘Dear Diamond.’ I sometimes get lost in being a rocker chick, but I love old-school country music so much, and that’s what I listen to. This is one of those songs I feel like I’d be proud for Loretta to hear.”
(Miranda Lambert/Natalie Hemby/Luke Laird)
“I’m a huge fan of Beyoncé; you could say I’m pretty much obsessed with her. So friends of mine have actually said, ‘Okay, that’s your Beyoncé coming out in you on this one.’ It’s almost got like a little bit of a hip-hop groove to it. I love singing it live. It’s got attitude, and it’s a lot of fun. Everybody has those moments described in this song, with whoever, whether it’s a friend or a boyfriend. I actually had a breakup with a friend this year where I felt, ‘You’re dragging me down.’ This song is just for anybody that feels ‘Okay, I’m tired of your s—.’ They can raise their beer at the live show and kind of make a toast to this one.”
(Miranda Lambert/Scotty Wray)
“My guitar player, Scotty Wray, has been with me for 11 years, and we wrote a song together on Kerosene called “I Wanna Die”, but we haven’t written since then. When he came to me with this idea saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got this old-school Merle Haggard-sounding lick’, I immediately loved it! I don’t have a song in that vein yet; it’s kind of old-school blues. Last year I also had gotten really into Muddy Waters and his sound. I wanted this song to feel like you were sitting on a porch, and some old man is smoking a cigar and playing a Dobro. The lyrics kind of remind me of what normal life couples go through when they are at home. They might fight but end up sitting on the front porch having a cocktail and watching the sunset. To me, that’s what this song is about. It just has that attitude of: Hey, life doesn’tsuck.”
(Miranda Lambert/Blake Shelton)
“I wrote that song with Blake, just us two. It’s one of the most emotional songs that I’ve ever recorded or written. His brother passed away when he was 24 and Blake was 16. He had never really opened up and talked about it. Over time, I learned the story of what happened. We were talking about it one night, and he was playing this real pretty melody, and we started writing this song. It was going to be kind of a love-gone-bad song because that’s what I usually write about. But as we started writing it, I said, ‘You went away’, and Blake said, ‘How dare you’—and we both started crying. I’d never cried writing a song before, and I probably won’t ever again. It was just a really intense moment between Blake and me as a couple and also as artists. To be that close and write a song about something that important in his life was really emotional.”
Look At Miss Ohio
(David Rawlings/Gillian Welch)
“I love Gillian Welch, obviously. Since I am such a fan, I’m so tempted to want to record every one of her songs. I wanted to cut one for Revolution, but chickened out because I thought, ‘Don’t brave that! You can’t be Gillian Welch.’ This was one of those songs that I was always singing around the house. I sort of see it as a form of flattery hopefully; at least it would feel that way to me if someone cut one of my songs. I asked Karen and Kimberly from Little Big Town if they would come sing on here. I’m a huge fan of their harmonies, and I thought if I can just get two other amazing female voices on this, it would really encompass what the song is to me. I don’t really know whatmy interpretation of it is, and I don’t really know what Gillian’s vision was when she wrote the song, but I feel like maybe you can take something different from my ‘Miss Ohio.’”
Better In The Long Run
(Charles Kelley/Ashley Monroe/Gordie Sampson)
“Blake and I have been waiting a long time to sing a big duet together, partly because we don’t really ever agree on what we want it to be as we’re so different musically. We’ve done live duets here and there and sung on each other’s records before. When we heard this song, it was a no-brainer. I was thrilled that we finally found a track that we both loved. Obviously the demo was amazing because it was Ashley Monroe and Charles Kelley singing it. A great demo is a major selling point. Now we just had to figure out how to make our version sound just as good as theirs.”
“After Nashville Star, somebody gave me a CD of Chris Stapleton, who is a great songwriter in Nashville, and I loved that song, ‘Nobody’s Fool.’ Later on I could never remember the name of it. I have so many of his songs now because I kept asking people for Chris Stapleton songs to find it again, and it never was that one. Finally Frank sent me that one, and I was thrilled to finally find it. ‘That’s it! It’s ‘Nobody’s Fool’!’ I was so happy that I found it again, because honestly, I would have probably cut it on my second record if I could just have remembered the name of it. Chris came and sang all the background vocals on the recording, which was very cool. It sounds like a big song to me.”
“Allison Moorer is probably one of the reasons I ever started writing songs. Because when I was 17, trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do, having done a few demos and finally feeling the call to write my own songs, I found Allison Moorer, and I fell in love with just what she was as a female artist. She’s such a deep songwriter and has an amazing country voice. She’s been such a huge influence, and I kind of got to know her a little bit over the years. I was hoping to write with her for this album, but she lives in New York City, and it was hard to get all the logistics planned out. I told her that I was living in Oklahoma and that Blake is from there. And she was in New Zealand and found an Oklahoma quarter—which is so random! And she said she kissed it, and it inspired her to write a song called ‘Oklahoma Sky,’ which she saved for me.
“I’m from Texas, and we’re Texas-proud and annoying and all that. I will always be from Texas. But now with this new life, I’ve moved away from my family and started my own family in Oklahoma and married an Okie. I feel like it’s my ode to my beautiful new home state. Just as much as I love Texas, I now love Oklahoma, and it’s kind of my song for my life there now.”