Hi y’all and Happy Monday! In the dead of winter up here in the Northern Hemisphere there are only two things on my mind: the holiday season and of course, country music. Today’s #MondayHero is a country icon, a stadium-filling performer, and one badass female form Northeast Texas. So without further ado, today’s #MH selection is eight time award winner for ACM Female Vocalist of the Year, two time Grammy winner, and soon-to-be host of the 2018 Livin’ Like Hippies Tour, Miranda Lambert.
Growing up in the Texas town of Lindale, which is located roughly 90 miles east of Dallas, Lambert was listening to the likes of Merle Haggard, EmmyLou Harris, and other country legends while her father taught her how to play guitar as a child. Despite entering talent contests and acting in movies and commercials from a young age, her dream was always to pursue a music career in Nashville and she even graduated early from high school in order to make her move to the country big leagues.
After living in Nashville for her late teenage years, she was awarded an audition for the at-the-time brand new reality TV music competition on USA Network, Nashville Star. Out of more than 800 contestants, she was eventually selected to be one of the show’s final twelve artists, and she ended up placing third at the end of the show’s first season. Throughout her appearances on the program she debuted many of her self-written songs, including “Greyhound Bound for Nowhere” and “Me and Charlie Talking”, which later ended up on her debut album Kerosene. She attests that her love for music and songwriting stems from her father who, in addition to being a private investigator in Texas, wrote music and played guitar on the side.
Since her success on Nashville Star in 2003, Lambert has released six studio LPs with numerous number one singles. Each of these six records has peaked at #1 on the US Country charts, and her 2014 edition Platinum even peaked at #1 on the US Billboard all genre charts. Since 2010 she has headlined seven different nationwide tour circuits and throughout her career has also opened for and co-headlined with big name artists such as Eric Church, Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, and Brad Paisley. When she’s not working on her own records or touring to promote them, she also spends time acting as one-third of the female country trio, Pistol Annies.
Miranda is one of the most praised artists in Nashville thanks to her ability to write, record, and perform her attitude-filled songs in a calm, cool and collected manner. She has one of the most recognizably soft-spoken voices in country music, yet she also has the ability to break your heart with her fierce and fiery personality. From “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” to “We Should Be Friends”, Miranda is one of the most outspoken yet well-spoken songwriters in country music today, and she never fails to impress.
Her latest album, 2016’s The Weight of These Wings, is a 24-track double LP that reached #3 on the Billboard all genre Hot 200 album charts and is already considered Platinum by the RIAA. All but three songs on the album are co-written by Lambert, and many different publications consider the record to be one of the best country albums of 2016. Her 2018 Livin’ Like Hippies Tour (getting its name from the albums #2 song “Highway Vagabond”) will feature many songs from the new album as well as many of her older hits.
- “We Should Be Friends” (2016) – One of the singles from her latest album, this track single-handedly highlights what Miranda Lambert is all about — “dreaming all day and drinking all night”. As one of the few songs from her latest LP that she wrote entirely by herself, this almost-three-minute addition is one of the more defining songs of her career, literally. With snare drums keeping time in the background and a bluesy guitar riff that separates each verse, the main highlight of the song are Miranda’s lyrics of self-defining reflection. Give this one a few listens and you’ll feel like you’ve known her for years and years.
- “The House That Built Me” (2009) – One of her all-time bests in my opinion, this song paints the sentimental and vivid picture of returning to the place where you grew up. Miranda’s yearning vocals throughout this song are the ideal sonic representation of the difficulty associated with moving away from home, and then later returning to see that everything’s still the same, but also very different. Whenever someone says that country music is all about beers and trucks, pull this one out of your back pocket; this song’s impossible not to connect and fall in love with right from the first verse.
- “Mama’s Broken Heart” (2011) – A staple of her fourth studio album and her many live shows a year, this song highlights the other side of Miranda’s musical personality: the downhome sass. A non-traditional country song about a recent break-up, this song leaves the sobbing and sorrow in the dust and puts the pedal to the metal with the movin’ on to the next one. One of the most mosh-pit friendly songs in Miranda’s catalog, this one is bad to the bone. Rule #1: Don’t Mess With Miranda.
- “Tin Man” – (2016) – As the first track on the C side of her most recent double LP, this song is everything you could want from a Miranda song. Cool, clever, and confessional, “Tin Man” plays off the Wizard of Oz character Tin Man’s desire to have a heart. After some explanation and debate, Miranda decides that she is willing to forego hers in an exchange. As a possible reactionary anthem after her divorce from Monday Hero #1 Blake Shelton back in July 2015, this song makes it so we may have no choice but to side with Miranda on this one.
Are you now obsessed with Miranda Lambert and need to hear more? Check out the R&B Miranda Lambert Spotify playlist, or click here for Miranda’s Spotify page.
Also, don’t forget to check out R&B’s composite list for all #MondayHeroes and #FridayFinds!
See you this Friday!