In an era of canned, saccharine pop country that's characterized by love songs and songs of love lost, there are few musicians that can make a statement quite as well as Miranda Lambert does.
The Texas native has morphed from reality show contestant into superstar over the last decade, releasing one spitfire country anthem one after another. Speaking her mind came easiest to her through songwriting -- a talent she picked up just four years prior to her limelight introduction on the first season of "Nashville Star," honing her voice in a very short time.
"I realized early on that I needed to sing material that moved me," Lambert says. "At my age then, around 16 or 17, I felt I had to learn to write songs so I could deliver my true feelings about a subject matter."
Developing that ability to translate heady emotions into pop-friendly formats has become the hallmark of Lambert's career. Songs like "Gunpowder And Lead" and "All Kinds Of Kinds," which deal with spousal abuse and universal acceptance, respectively, have managed to catch the attention of the mainstream while having enough growl to please country fans. Exploring themes such as those came with could only come with life experience and observation, however.
"I think my twenties were are great ride of learning new things, growing into adulthood," she says. "[I was] making a home for myself, getting married, starting a foundation, solidifying friendships."
That marriage to fellow neo-country icon Blake Shelton has become something of a tabloid sensation as of late, rife with scandalous accusations made in massive headlines seen by anyone standing in a grocery store checkout line. While this might grind away at any other artist, it seems to have become the right fuel to stoke Lambert's creative output.
She's not fazed by much. If anything, that ability to spin distress or injustice into stories that everyone can relate to, much less sing along to, places her in the pantheon of modern female country acts that should keep the boys shaking in their boots.
There's always been enough twang and spit in her work to keep her at the forefront of the conversation, but on her fifth LP, Platinum, coming out in June, Lambert finally slows down for a look back at the ride thus far.
It's a 16-track magnum opus where "each [song] is important for it to be a complete album," she says. Regardless, she's still singing for just herself. If you like it enough, then get on board with her stories. If not, they're still her tracks, just as effective in front of a mirror as they are in front of a screaming stadium.
"Simply growing in life has given me different perspectives," she says. "To me music is music and doesn't have to be put in one drawer, especially now that country music has gained such popularity, anything from the very traditional sounds to more pop-leaning tracks are all part of our genre -- there is something for everyone."
Miranda Lambert is scheduled to play Country Thunder 2014 on Saturday, April 12.
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