The five-foot-four Miranda Lambert was walking tall at the 2010 Colorado State Fair — filling the six-foot-six Trace Adkins’ boots for a surprise duet with Blake Shelton on the guys’ raucous “Hillbilly Bone.” (Watch a fan-shot video of the performance above.) The “Kerosene” singer was a bride-to-be of just about three months at the time, as Shelton had popped the question earlier that spring. Flaunting her sparkling left hand, Lambert tackled Adkins’ part with considerably more spunk than her fiancé’s buddy, effortlessly turning the normally guys-only anthem into a co-ed party.
“Hillbilly Bone” was the title track of Shelton’s first “Six Pak” collection, marking the start of a trend at the time of putting out compilations of just a half dozen songs. Penned by lauded songwriters Luke Laird and Craig Wiseman, the duet soared to Number One on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart in early 2010. Adkins also included it on his 2010 Cowboy’s Back in Town album.
Coincidentally, Adkins is a big part of Lambert and Shelton’s love story. Sparks first ignited between the singers during rehearsals for the 2005 CMT show, 100 Greatest Duets, on which they were paired for “You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma” — a duet introduced by Adkins. “We had instant chemistry,” Lambert once told VH-1’s Behind the Music of the CMT special, with Shelton admitting, “I was falling in love with her, right there on stage.”
Their channeling of David Frizzell and Shelly West was the first of just a handful of collaborations by the now married couple, who very rarely duet except for during live shows (whether they be on fairgrounds or network television). They trade lines on “Bear Skin Rug” from Shelton’s 2011 Startin’ Fires album, and Lambert offers backup vocals on her husband’s cover of Michael Bublé’s “Home” and on his hillbilly-meets-hip-hop, “Boys ‘Round Here.” As co-writers, they took home both the 2012 CMA and ACM for Song of the Year for Lambert’s heartbreaking “Over You.”
Those back-to-back song awards came when Shelton’s trophy case was already packed — the first on its shelves being for “Hillbilly Bone.” The Oklahoma native’s first major award was with Adkins for the 2010 ACM Vocal Event of the Year. Lambert had her hubby beat by three years; her first of many ACM awards was in 2007 for Top New Female Vocalist.