Miranda Lambert‘s On Fire tour has given fans a chance to see a more emotional, vulnerable side of the singer this year. In January, she had to postpone three shows due to the death of her father-in-law . Nine days later, her friend Mark “Tex” Adams was killed , and she postponed another show to attend his funeral. And those emotions have played out onstage, she said.
“It’s been a little bit emotional,” Lambert told CMT Insider producer Terry Bumgarner prior to a concert this month in Huntsville, Ala. “But I think it’s cool because it’s the first time I’ve ever been on tour where the first three weekends I’m wide open and raw emotionally to the crowd. They responded so well. And you can tell my fans are lifting me up through a bad time.”
In this interview, Lambert looks back at her life over the last year, explains why she’s nervous with every new album and praises her fans who buy tickets the instant they go on sale.
CMT: How’s the tour going so far?
Lambert: The tour is going well. It’s kind of been broken up. You get all fired up, no pun intended, to go. And you do rehearsals and you get on the road. … It’s almost like riding your bike. If you haven’t done it in a little while, you sort of have to get re-familiarized with it. Getting onstage for the first night, I was nervous a little bit because of a new production and new set and new lyrics. I love cover songs, but I always mess up the words! (laughs) So my goal is, by the end of the tour, to actually get every word in the set list right. If I can.
With the last few weeks being so emotional, it’s probably good that you have the show.
It’s great to have the show because it takes my mind off of it. I really feel every word to every song a lot more than I have in the past. … When you’re opened up emotionally from sadness or pain, it takes you kind of back to a place where you wrote a song, whether it’s happy or whatever. You’re a little bit more open-minded when you’re singing it. I feel like the fans feel that, and they give it back, too.
So much has happened in the past year. How does this tour compare to a year ago?
A year ago, we were headlining, but it was half the ticket sales that we have now. … A year ago, I was planning a wedding, and then I got married. It’s all been so much. And then I come on this tour, and I have some trials in my life. It feels like I haven’t really settled in quite yet. With being off for the holiday, it takes you a minute to get crankin’ again, anyway, back in your routine. But I think that’s good because it’s kept me sort of humble and also a little bit more vulnerable. I think that’s what my fans deserve. They’ve stuck with me since Nashville Star. They’re here. They feel like they know me through my music, and now I feel like the ones that have been out to see the shows this year really got to know me better.
When two famous people get married, it seems to multiply the fame. Have you noticed that since you and Blake got married?
I feel like it does, but we didn’t think about that when we got married. I think a lot of it has to do with The Voice. Country music has always sort of been country music. There are a few [artists] that go way bigger and beyond and cross over, but mostly we’re just kind of our own genre. We’re family, and we’re big enough. But I feel like Blake being on The Voice has brought an eye to country music as a whole because he’s country-talking and he’s country-looking and he’s country-singing. I feel like it’s a great representation of what we have to offer as a genre. I think that he, in general, not just with me being his wife, has helped our genre become bigger.
Your new album, Four the Record, has gotten great reviews and has been selling well. How satisfying is it to know it’s been so well received?
When I put out an album, I literally get physically sick the week before, like the day before it comes out. I just am so nervous. I can’t sleep. … I’m so involved in my music, it’s such a part of me, and I write a lot of it, so I feel like if it’s rejected, I’m rejected. If it’s accepted, then I’m accepted. So it has this feeling of validation as a person when your art is enjoyed by people and selling and when people sing along at shows. And it got nominated for ACM album of the year — I didn’t think I was even eligible — and that’s awesome. That’s always been my favorite [category]. It’s amazing to win anything, but an album is like your baby, and when it wins something, you’re just so proud.
Eric Church has found that scalpers are misrepresenting themselves and joining his fan club to get the best seats at his shows. Do you have the same problem?
I guess I’m protected from it because my tour manager and managers are really good about not telling me something that will get me all weirded out before I go onstage. But, honestly, I mean, it’s going to happen. People are going to sell fake merchandise. People are going to scalp tickets. They’re going to do it forever. At least people are scalping your tickets — at least you’re worth that much. What I mean is, if people want to pay $500 as a scalped ticket for a seat up front and are there to rock out … well … oh, well! Sorry! (laughs) I just want them in the seats.
I think he’s concerned that his fans aren’t getting the best seats when that happens.
I understand that, too, but there are just problems you’re going to have to deal with — people doing things illegally. But for the majority, I think that true fans get in there early, and there are so many outlets online that can get you in your seat within a second. That’s cool because the true fans are the ones waiting on the website for your tickets to go on sale. That’s why they’re always there and right up front. And I love that!