When: Fri., Aug. 23 2013
MIRANDA LAMBERT With a scrappy third place finish on American Idol rip-off Nashville Star, Miranda Lambert was the girl most likely to toss kerosene on the fire. Crafting a tough chick image on her 2007 LP, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, she was tagged as a raunchy “Redneck Woman” on the order of Gretchen Wilson. Unlike Wilson’s brassy cartoon, Lambert seemed the real deal, spinning taut and tuneful tales of domestic abuse and blood-simple revenge. Yet, Lambert’s rebel persona conflicted with her girlish voice and storybook marriage to country star Blake Shelton, even as her bad girl schtick threatened to topple into self-parody. Embracing her contradictions, Lambert diversified, tackling country soul and grimy blues with equal verve. Soon her songwriting equaled the emotional heft of collaborators like Carlene Carter. At the height of chart success, Lambert jump started an all-female trio with two fellow singer songwriters. The Pistol Annies recall the chick-power spirit, if not the sound, of ’90s riot grrrls like L7, while drawing praise from cranky rock contrarian Neil Young. Nowadays, many male country stars lay claim to Waylon Jennings’ outlaw crown, but only Miranda Lambert has snapped up the scepter.