Miranda LambertPhoto: Ellen Von UnwerthBold statement time: Miranda Lambert is the single best, most relatable artist making Country music today. I, for one, would be lost without her. In any debate, any ranking system, any chance to choose sides, I will always choose Miranda.
To a certain extent, I feel like we grew up together. Each of her albums has hit at just the right moment, each song reverberating through my life.
Lambert broke onto Country radio in 2004 with her first big single, “Me and Charlie Talking,” off of her debut full-length, Kerosene. That album found me during my first years in Cincinnati, 1,000 miles from my parents in Florida. Lambert was 22 years old then and I was 21. I played “Mama, I’m Alright” on repeat so much that my neighbor actually asked me to give the song a rest.
A couple of years later, while debating whether or not to file for divorce, it was “New Strings” that toughened me up. Just like Lambert, I knew I had everything I needed to make it on my own. It was “Gunpowder & Lead,” off of 2007’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, that helped me explain my decision to outsiders.
“The House That Built Me” has meant the most to me, though. The 2010 single felt like it’d been written about the Lebanon farmhouse my mom grew up in and that we left when I was 5. The song stuck in my heart the same way that house did, with duct tape, Gorilla glue and a five-point safety harness, simultaneously breaking my heart and then healing it, again. Every. Single. Rotation.
As much as all of her songs have meant to me, no album hits like her sixth, 2016’s The Weight of These Wings. The first crackle of “Vice” sent me spiraling to a time when I was both lonely and OK with it… kind of. The rest of that double album was just as powerful.
“I’ve Got Wheels” felt like the perfect summation of how I felt with my current lot in life. I sang it over and over to my growing baby bump. I wanted Mathilda to know that I wasn’t perfect, my life wasn’t perfect and her life wouldn’t be perfect, either, but we’d keep rolling on. “Highway Vagabond” felt like an ode to my days of chasing after Mumford & Sons. And “For The Birds” was like a happy little three-minute vacation.
And — yeah, girl — we should be friends.
Lambert’s “It All Comes Out in the Wash,” off of her upcoming album Wildcard (due Nov. 1), fits just the same as all the others. It’s witty, irreverent and relatable. Aside from Wildcard, Lambert’s supergroup, Pistol Annies, released a new album last November.
When Lambert rolls through Northern Kentucky’s BB&T Arena this Saturday (Sept. 20) with her Roadside Bars & Pink Guitars Tour 2019 she’ll be doing double duty. Not only will she headline, but Pistol Annies is an opening act.
“Too much Miranda Lambert?” you’re wondering. I say, “Never enough.”