100 Greatest Women, #19: Miranda Lambert

100 Greatest Women: 10th Anniversary Edition

#19

Miranda Lambert

2008 Edition: #90 (+71)

Emerging in era of country music noticeably short on compelling new female artists, Miranda Lambert quickly established herself as one of those rare acts that appeals to both mainstream country music fans and the alternative and Americana crowds that usually shun mass-market Nashville music.  Eventually, she would become the most heralded female country artist of her generation.

Not bad for a woman who got her first big break on the much-maligned Nashville Star talent contest. Lambert came in third during the inaugural 2003 season of that reality show, but even though she was only nineteen years old then, she’d already been actively pursuing a country music career for the past few years, fronting her own country band in high school and releasing a self-titled (and self-financed) independent CD in 2001.

But it was her stint on Star that secured her a major-label contract, and after taking the time to write her own debut album, she released Kerosene in 2005. The lead single, “Me and Charlie Talking”, had gotten only moderate airplay, so it was a shock to industry observers when the album opened at #1 on Top Country Albums chart.

As would become the norm for Lambert, the critical acclaim was widespread, but country radio was hesitant to embrace the singles. The biggest hit from the album, the title track, cracked the top fifteen and earned Lambert her first Grammy nomination. Her fiery performance of the song at the 2005 CMA awards, along with its visually stunning video, helped push the album to a platinum certification.

After two Horizon Award nominations and a Grammy nod, Lambert finally won her first award in the spring of 2007, ACM Top New Female Vocalist. That same evening, she was a surprise nominee for Top Female Vocalist, a nod that the CMA would match the following fall. 2007 also saw the release of her sophomore set, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which became her second consecutive #1 album. It was the most critically acclaimed country album of that year, and garnered raves from newspapers and magazines that don’t traditionally cover country music at all. The single “Famous in a Small Town” became her highest-charting hit to date, and earned her a second consecutive Grammy nomination for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.

Late in 2007, Lambert released the powerful spousal abuse anthem “Gunpowder & Lead,” which became a top ten hit at country radio. The success of the single contributed to her Album of the Year victory at the ACM Awards in 2008 for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, beginning a historic run at that awards show which would include another four victories in that category alone.  Lambert had her big breakthrough with her third set, Revolution.  “White Liar” became her first huge radio hit, and its follow up, “The House That Built Me,” became her first #1 single.  Both tracks contributed to several award show victories, including the first of nine ACM and seven CMA Female Vocalist wins.  “House” also earned Lambert her first of two Grammy Awards to date.

In 2011, Lambert collaborated with Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley under the moniker Pistol Annies, scoring a #1 album with Hell On Heels. Her next studio set was released that same year. Four the Record included the award-winning hits “Mama’s Broken Heart” and “Over You.”  She picked up another pair of awards for her 2013 collaboration with Keith Urban, “We Were Us,” which topped the singles chart as well.  That same year, she had another hit album with the Pistol Annies. Annie Up featured the group’s biggest radio hit to date, “Hush Hush.”

In 2014, Lambert released her most acclaimed collection to date, Platinum, which earned her a Grammy for Best Country Album and a handful of awards for its lead single, “Automatic.” The set features her most recent #1 single, “Somethin’ Bad,” a collaboration with Carrie Underwood.  Also featured on the set are Little Big Town, who provided harmonies for “Smokin’ and Drinkin,” which won  a Vocal Event of the Year award from the ACM.

In 2016, Lambert released her most ambitious project yet, the double album The Weight of These Wings. The lead single, “Vice,” became one of her biggest solo hits, and “Tin Man” earned her an ACM award for Song of the Year.  Her most recent hit, “Drown the Whiskey,” is a collaboration with Jason Aldean, and was a #1 hit on the country airplay chart.  After a successful world tour in 2017 to support Wings, a co-headlining tour with Little Big Town is currently underway.

Miranda Lambert

Essential Singles

  • Kerosene, 2005
  • Gunpowder & Lead, 2007
  • White Liar, 2009
  • The House That Built Me, 2010
  • Over You, 2012
  • Mama’s Broken Heart, 2013
  • Automatic, 2014
  • Little Red Wagon, 2015
  • Vice, 2016
  • Tin Man, 2017

Essential Albums

  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, 2007
  • Revolution, 2009
  • Hell On Heels (Pistol Annies), 2011
  • Four the Record, 2011
  • Platinum, 2014
  • The Weight of These Wings, 2016

Industry Awards

  • Academy of Country Music Awards
    • Album of the Year
      • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, 2008
      • Revolution, 2010
      • Four the Record, 2012
      • Platinum, 2015
      • The Weight of These Wings, 2017
    • Music Video of the Year
      • White Liar, 2010
      • The House That Built Me, 2011
      • Forever Country, 2017
    • Single of the Year
      • The House That Built Me, 2011
      • Over You, 2013
      • Mama’s Broken Heart, 2014
    • Song of the Year
      • The House That Built Me, 2011
      • Over You, 2013
      • Automatic, 2015
      • Tin Man, 2018
    • Top Female Vocalist, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
    • Top New Female Vocalist, 2007
    • Vocal Event of the Year
      • We Were Us (with Keith Urban), 2014
      • Smokin’ and Drinkin’ (with Little Big Town), 2016
  • Country Music Association Awards
    • Album of the Year
      • Revolution, 2010
      • Platinum, 2014
    • Female Vocalist of the Year, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017
    • Music Video of the Year
      • The House That Built Me, 2010
    • Single of the Year
      • Automatic, 2014
    • Song of the Year
      • Over You, 2012
    • Vocal Event of the Year
      • We Were Us (with Keith Urban), 2014
  • Grammy Awards
    • Best Country Album
      • Platinum, 2015
    • Best Female Country Vocal Performance
      • The House That Built Me, 2011

100 Greatest Women: 10th Anniversary Edition

Next: #18. Tanya Tucker

Previous: #20. Carrie Underwood

10 Comments

  1. The pondering’s finally over. But one question remains: Where’s Lee Ann Womack?

    That aside, I can safely say Miranda Lambert is one of the few agreeable country artists of the era – mainly, right now. Saw her in concert once, at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in 2016, but sadly, I didn’t feel like staying for the whole show.

  2. Surprised to see her higher than Carrie on this list. Miranda’s a great artist, and a critics’ darling, but her commercial success, radio presence and pop culture significance as well as the influence she’s had on the current crop of young female singers feels almost non-existent by comparison.

    I think she’s great though, and along with Carrie easily the most important country artist of the past 10 or so years, male or female. For me though, personally, she peaked with “Revolution”. “White Liar”, “The House that Built Me” and “Only Prettier” is probably my favourite streak of singles by any artist in any genre.

  3. Miranda is definitely one if not the most influential artist of her generation- no question. Her influence on females in country is also immense. Think back to when she started, it was very much look pretty and sing what we give you to sing for solo female artists. She fought for full creative control (which was unheard of for new artists) wrote or co-wrote her album. It was successful w/o radio. Miranda continued to release albums peers/critics praised that also sold. Her being successful brought in an entire group of female singer songwriters getting signed and releasing albums. Once Miranda got successful she formed a girl band, Pistol Annies, to have fun playing more traditional songs but most importantly to promote her talented friends in hopes of getting them solo record deals. It worked both Ashley/Angaleena put out top notch albums. Always a promoter of girl power, Miranda has also consistently taken new female up and comers on tour w/ her. A few years back she had an all girl tour again for fun and to spotlight female artists. As an artist Miranda Lambert is second to none and should be thought of with the greats that came before her….she is truly the Keeper of the Flame in country.

  4. Miranda is one of my favorite country artists of the last decade. What more can you ask for from Miranda? Great singer, great songwriter, classic hit songs, and great albums. Miranda easily has one of the best discographies ever in country music and she still going strong on her hot streak. In my opinion, she has never release one bad record. Her debut album, Kerosene was solid, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a amazing album, Revolution and Four The Record are great albums, and Platinum and The Weight Of These Wings albums will be remember as classics once time passes by. Add in her work with the Pistol Annies with Hell On Heels and Annie Up albums and you can see why Miranda is recognized as one of the best in country music today.

  5. Not a fan of her as a vocalist but did like these songs:
    “Famous in a Small Town” (Miranda Lambert & Travis Howard)
    “All Kinds of Kinds” (Phillip Coleman & Don Henry)
    “The House That Built Me” (Tom Douglas & Allen Shamblin)
    “Mama’s Broken Heart” (Brandy Clark, Kacey Musgraves & Shane McAnally) – heard Brandy Clark sing it at the Bluebird Cafe in Nov of 2013. Prefer Brandy’s vocals.
    “Tin Man” – (ML, Jack Ingram & Jon Randall)

  6. @Scott,

    Miranda and Carrie are essentially tied. It was tricky deciding who to have higher, and from my perspective, Miranda just put out more music overall – six studio albums, including a double LP, and the two Pistol Annies projects.

    They are both great artists, and easily among the most important country artists of the 21st century. They’ll both be in the Hall of Fame down the road.

  7. I can see how Miranda could be up this high; apart from Carrie, she’s virtually the only female artist that country radio seems to want to give the time of day to any more…and even at that, not near the level she had it before Bro-Country cane to pass in 2012-13.

    Truth be told, I’m not that wild about ML because I find her voice too wiry and abrasive. That said, though, it’s no accident that she got as big as she did, and that she is still somewhat around in post-“Tomatogate” Nashville.

  8. I’m appreciative of the fact that the CMA and ACM have limited themselves to Lambert and Underwood (okay, almost completely Lambert) for Female Vocalist this decade.

    If the CMA doesn’t pass the baton back to Underwood this year, I hope it’s Kacey Musgraves who wins. Unless they think that Lambert’s collaboration with Aldean warrants another Female Vocalist trophy. They did nominate it a lot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.