The adjective-attracting Miranda Lambert (feisty, plucky, sassy, sarcastic, dynamic, unstoppable) turns 36 today (Nov. 10) and will almost certainly have cause for another celebration tomorrow as her seventh major label album – Wildcard — makes its chart debut.
If it follows the paths of her Kerosene (2005), Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2007), Revolution (2009), Four the Record (2011), Platinum (2014) and The Weight of These Wings (2016), it will bow in at No. 1 on Billboard’s country albums rankings and go on to sell at least a million copies.
In a New York Times feature, Lambert conceded that she was “very tired” of discussing the plight of women in country music. But she illustrated the problem by recounting her own plight. “I made The Weight of These Wings and couldn’t get a single on the charts to save my life, but I won song of the year [for “Tin Man” at the 2018 ACM Awards]. … I didn’t even have a Top 5 song until my third record. I had platinum albums and was winning awards. I just couldn’t get played on the radio. It sucks.”
Of the goal for Wildcard, she said, “I brought it back to straight down the middle Miranda Lambert. People want the humor, the sarcasm, something not too musically out there. And I get that. But would I love to just go off and make a stone cold country record? Hell yes.”
Radio may continue to be unwelcoming to women singers, but Lambert has, through her albums, certainly unfurled the red carpet for women songwriters. A severely pared-down list of these include such formidable composers as Natalie Hemby, Hillary Lindsay, Lori McKenna, Liz Rose, Nicolle Galyon, Brandy Clark, Kacey Musgraves, Brandi Carlile, Allison Moorer, Julie Miller, Gillian Welch, Patty Griffin and her two Pistol Annies compadres, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley.
But she’s had an open door as well for top flight male writers, among them Brett James, Jon Randall, Shane McAnally, Chris Stapleton and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame members Allen Shamblin, Tom Douglas, John Prine and Tom T. Hall.
Lambert is a prodigiously gifted and productive songwriter herself and deserving of more praise for this talent than she gets. In raw numbers she has written or co-written 78 songs on her seven solo albums and an additional 27 on her three Pistol Annies collections. Her credits extend to such single hits as “Kerosene,” “White Liar,” “Heart Like Mine,” “Over You,” “Vice” and the current “It All Comes Out in the Wash.”
More bring-on-the-bubbly news may await Lambert at the CMA Awards Wednesday night (Nov. 13) where she’s in the running for female vocalist of the year, a trophy she’s won seven times.
Not a bad year to turn 36, eh, Miranda?