Miranda Lambert has a special glimmer in her eye when she talks about Platinum, her first new album in nearly three years. Fans have already heard “Automatic” and “Something Bad,” yet there are more riches on the 16-track album. She embraces traditional country on songs like “All That’s Left” and “Hard Staying Sober” while tipping her hat to the ’80s and ’90s with “Another Sunday in the South.”
In the second part of a two-part interview, Lambert talks about trusting herself, learning guitar from her dad and inspiring her mom to crack open a few beers.
CMT: How much have you learned to trust your instinct in the last couple of years?
Lambert: I’ve always gone with my gut but even now more than ever. If I feel really strongly about anything, one way or the other, I always go with it because it’s never really led me wrong. I mean, I’ve made bad decisions, don’t get me wrong. But when it’s a really big decision, I just really think for a second and go with what I really feel in my heart. It’s usually the right thing.
Have you always had that ability to look inside yourself and sort it out in your mind?
Yeah, my dad really instilled that in me and he was real big on character — having character and building your character and surrounding yourself with people with good character — so that was a huge thing. He was a stickler for it, and he really instilled it in my brother and I.
I’ve read about your dad and his record collection. So when I heard “All That’s Left” and “Hard Staying Sober” on this new album, they reminded me of your traditional country background. Did that remind you of your dad’s taste in music, too?
It does. My mom and dad always had music playing, but I think I definitely got my love of music and my abilities from him. He’s a singer-songwriter and plays guitar. He taught me to play guitar. I grew up with David Allan Coe and Willie and Waylon and Merle and a lot of that playing throughout the house.
“Hard Staying Sober” definitely reminds me of some of that sound, and also, when I hear “Hard Staying Sober” or sing it … it just immediately feels like I want to be in Gruene Hall [the historic concert venue in New Braunfels, Texas.] Like, I just want to go to Texas and play in a bar right now and have a beer, you know? It’s just so honky-tonk, it makes me feel at home, like where I came from.
I wanted to ask you about seeing your new exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Is there any specific item in that collection that you’re particularly proud of?
Well, everything that I saw had a special place, you know, and it all brought back memories. I feel like I have to see it a lot. … It’s kind of like listening to an album. You have a different favorite every time you listen. But I was pretty impressed that the thrust was in there from the last tour.
And when I saw it, I was thinking about all the memories, of all the scuffs that were on it from footprints and spilled drinks and dropping the mic stand and everything else — fans scuffing it with whatever they brought. I just thought of all the things that it had seen over the whole tour, and I thought that was pretty cool. It brought back a rush of memories immediately when I saw all of the dents and scuffs on the [stage] thrust, so that may be my favorite for right this moment. But the whole thing is amazing, and I’m sure that I’ll have to soak it all in to even pick one favorite.
I’m a big fan of ’80s and ’90s country, and I’ll bet you are, too. So when I heard “Another Sunday in the South,” I picked up on a lot of the references in that song, like Restless Heart and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. What is it about that era that you’re really fond of?
When I hear ’90s country, I feel happy. I feel like something takes me back to everything I grew up on and why I wanted to be a country singer in the first place. And it just puts me in this great mood. Even if you’re listening to “Better Off in a Pine Box,” somehow you’re in a good mood, you know?
And me and Jessi [Alexander] and Ashley [Monroe] were all talking about that whole sentiment one day on the road, and we just started writing it. … Even the title is another song title, and it’s hard to write a song with all those song titles in it. We didn’t want it to not make sense to somebody that may not have heard any of those songs, so we were trying to make a story out of it, as well. But we could’ve written 15 more verses. We had so many artists and songs we left out, so we’ll have to do a “to be continued” version. (laughs)
It’s fun to have friends that come from that same musical background.
Absolutely, absolutely. I couldn’t wait to send that one to my mom and Blake. I just couldn’t wait for them to hear that. … One of my favorite stories of the writing process of this album was that song and how it came together, just writing things down as we were going through iPods, looking at artists.
And then when we finished it, I sent it to my mom from my phone. … It was 1:30 in the afternoon, and she’s like, “I’m at my desk. Send it on.” And then three minutes later, as soon as she was done listening to it, she was like, “Well, I’m on the back porch. I’ve just downloaded Diamond Rio and Restless Heart and Shenandoah, and I got a six-pack. I’m not working the rest of the day.” Like, “It’s ’90s country mode for the rest of the day.” And that’s exactly what we wanted this song to do.
That’s a nice way to end the record, too.
Yeah, I feel like that, too.Read the first half of CMT.com’s exclusive interview with Miranda Lambert.