Thirty-two years ago today, on November 10th, 1983, Miranda Lambert was born in Longview, Texas. Raised in nearby Lindale, Lambert began playing guitar and writing songs in her teens, playing dozens of honky-tonks in her home state before landing a recording contract with Sony Music Nashville in 2003.
With her 2005 debut, Kerosene, Lambert began what remains an unbroken streak of five albums topping the country chart in their first week of release. That LP (and her next, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) also established the singer’s reputation as a card-carrying NRA member with a hair trigger who was not to be crossed — a rep that, whether deserved or not, came in handy at some of the more rowdy, reckless honky-tonks she played early in her career.
A disciple of outlaw country legends Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings who owes much of her confident honesty (or, if you prefer, balls) as a songwriter to Loretta Lynn, Lambert has showcased her sweeter, more vulnerable side in songs such as 2010’s “The House That Built Me” (her first Number One) and “Over You,” written with now-ex-husband Blake Shelton. But she’s also never far from the wild side of life, as the honky-tonk angel has shown in tunes such as the recent “Little Red Wagon.”
In 2010, Lambert was among the acts who paid tribute to American icon, and original honky-tonk girl, Loretta Lynn, singing with Lynn (and Sheryl Crow) on the Kentucky-born legend’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter” for a tribute LP. In September, Lambert was also on hand for the ACM Honors presentation of the Academy of Country Music’s highest honor, the Crystal Milestone award, to Lynn. “She sang songs that were not necessarily appropriate to sing,” Lambert said while presenting Lynn with the award, “so I’m so thankful for women empowerment.”
In 2013, when Lynn celebrated her 50th anniversary as a Grand Ole Opry member (she joined the long-running show on September 25th, 1962), Lambert paid tribute to her with a performance of the song that first took Lynn to the Opry stage in 1960, “Honky Tonk Girl.” As Lambert belts out the lyrics, which are rife with loss and regret, Lynn looks on approvingly, singing along from her front-row seat in the Grand Ole Opry House and commenting on the performance to one of her daughters seated next to her.
“I love you, Lorett-y!” Lambert enthuses as the performance ends, pointing to her idol and raising her arms triumphantly as she bounds off stage.
Now entering her 56th year in country music (that’s five years longer than the ACM has been around), Lynn will release her first new studio album since 2004. Full Circle, co-produced by daughter Patsy Lynn Russell and John Carter Cash. It will be the 83-year-old icon’s first LP since the Grammy-winning Van Lear Rose. Also of note is the opening track, a new version of “Whispering Sea,” the tune that served as the original B-side to “Honky Tonk Girl.”