Review: Miranda Lambert, “Famous in a Small Town”

Miranda Lambert, “Famous in a Small Town”

This is interesting. Lambert has crafted a song around how life in a small-town basically results in everybody being famous, since everyone knows what everyone else is doing. I think this is sincere and spares us the tired odes to the simple life. I think it’s cool hearing a pretty successful country star still sounding interested in the gossip of the town she left behind.

There’s a lot of critical buzz surrounding Lambert’s upcoming CD. Radio gave the cold shoulder to the lead single and title track, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”, a song that didn’t impress me much anyway. Now I have some curiosity about what the rest of the project has in store.

Grade: B+

Listen: Famous in a Small Town

More Miranda Lambert:

Album Review: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Best Country Singles of 2006


  1. I was really disapointed by the lack of success of Crazy-Ex Girlfriend! Although i don’t blame you for being unimpressed by it, I’m scared for Miranda because she’s got the talent and the slight success of an artist who fails to score a top 10 at all and stays with it. However, the drop of her single makes me afraid she won’t be around much longer. Usually having to use two lead singles before releasing an album doesn’t end very well. I have the same fear for Josh Gracin when he finally releases his sophomore project and Gretchen Wilson’s next project due in May. All these really talented and successful new artists seem to have lost their touch way to early in the game.

    I really think radio should give this song a chance because it’s actually really awsome and it goes back to the sound of New Strings, the acoutic and soft country sound I love Miranda for.

  2. What’s in store? How about “Gunpowder & Lead” and “More Like Her”! I can’t wait! Miranda’s new CD is gonna kick ass! Y’all just wait and see!

  3. According to a message on Lambert’s official site, Sony never officially shipped “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” to radio. They did post the studio version on iTunes because of high demand for the single following her performance at the CMAs, and the song reached the lower-rungs of the singles charts based on that– sort of like how Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” kicked around the bottom of the radio charts for months before it was technically issued as a single. So I don’t know how worried I am about “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”‘s lack of success at radio.

    “Famous in a Small Town” was the fifth most added single at country radio last week, according to Radio&Records, so hopefully it’s getting a push from Sony. At this point, though, I’ll say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the extent of Lambert’s success– Kerosene was certified platinum at the beginning of March, it debuted at #1 on the country albums charts, and she’s picked up a nice list of awards nominations– despite the fact that radio, for whatever reason, hasn’t supported her. Really, when’s the last time a new artist was able to move 1M copies of a debut album on the strength of singles that, respectively, peaked at #27, #32, #16, and #25?

  4. That’s good news for Lambert’s album, then. I couldn’t figure out how the song was doing so poorly since she was coming off of a platinum album.

    Regarding your 1 million copies of a debut album question, the only comparable example I can think of is The Tractors. though Big & Rich didn’t have much luck at radio, either.

  5. Jonathan, I don’t know if the song was shipped to radio or not. Miranda had said on her site toward the end of 2006 that radio had the song and fans could call and request it but Sony was waiting for a few weeks before they started pushing it as a single. Evidently, the song was never pushed and in the statement you mention, Miranda admits that even she was confused about whether or not it was supposed to be a single. That is unacceptable. I suppose it excuses it’s failure at radio, but I keep seeing the image of some hamstrung Sony staffer who assured Miranda’s management, “Oh no, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was never a single” after finding that post-it note on his desk: “January: push CXG.”

  6. Yeah, there was a lot of confusion, wheather or not it was going to officially released and pushed as the first single off the record. They released it to radio simply as a follow up to her performing it at the CMA’s. Sony sent it out to radio programmers to see how they would react and not enough said that they were comfortable getting behind it as a single, so Sony decided to go with another single. It happens all the time. That’s how it’s done in the music business. It’s a shame people at radio have so much control over what we get to hear. Here’s my advise……..forget radio, make up your own mind and support music you think is good. Buy an artist’s record and go see them on tour. That’s why Miranda went Platinum, because she had a great record and toured like crazy to get herself out there, without the help of radio. It’s easy to get a fan base when radio shoves your music down people’s throats but as soon as they start playing the next person’s single, they forget about you. The way Miranda is building a following is how musical careers last a long, long time.

  7. Miranda is the real deal. If her record company can’t market this girl’s pizzazz then she needs to do a Toby Keith and take creative control away from the suits. If the American public will buy the junk that Gretchen puts out then they certainly would create a superstar of this girl who is 10 times more talented than Ms Wilson. Famous in a Small Town marketed properly could be like Tim’s Cherokee or Toby’s “Should’ve Been a Cowboy”. 10 years from now I expect Ms Lambert to be in their superstar league, without a doubt.

  8. I love Gretchen & Miranda both, to me they are the best hope that women have in country music right now

    They are both strong outspoken women who know what they want, sing about real life and what they have seen and aren’t trying to be anything but themselves. When I hear them sing I believe what they say, which I think the best way to judge any artist.

  9. I absoulutly love miranda she is such an inspiration * ( cause she write her own songs and is so unique* ) I would shure love to meet you BYE BYE i give a a A+

  10. I have to say that Miranda is one of the best new comers In the last few years, same as Gretchen.If you compare Miranda to Carrie U. I have to say that Miranda is a better artist, I’m not saying that Carrie isn’t good, but there was something about her album that didn’t seem right,almost like she was fake. I know that she isn’t and that she wasn’t given too much creative control over it so maybe her next one will be better. Getting back to Miranda though, I think that this song should do better than some of her other songs, but I do get that wierd feeling that Sony isn’t supporting her as much as they could; but it’s the same for Gretchen and Ashley too.

  11. Im very intrested in seeing what “Famous in a Small Town” comes out to be like, it was filmed in my school! Alot of my friends were int he video, so were allpretty excited about it!!!!

  12. Just a quick chart update to gauge whether or not Sony’s doing what it should… “Famous in a Small Town” moves from #54 to #49 on the Radio and Records chart. It’s #45 based on total number of spins, but it’s lagging behind in audience impressions. Which means that it’s not getting played as often in the bigger markets, which tend to go heavy on the established stars, as it is in the smaller ones, who are more likely to take a chance on a newer artist.

    Still, there’s still quite a bit of buzz surrounding her album release, and I think she has a good shot of scoring her second #1 debut on the country albums chart– her only competition in her first week will, interestingly enough, be Blake Shelton.

  13. i saw where famous in a small town had gone up 5 this week- i was really dissapointed with sonys push for cxgf- maybe thay wil actually do better with famous-i HOPE
    me and othere sform her fanclub drove people nuts asking fir a sing that basically didnt exists anyway Fmaous in a small towns video comes out this thursday on top 20 countdown on CMT and on next monday on GAC!! so im excited about that!! GO MIRANDA!!!!!!!!

  14. CXG was not appropriate for country radio and died because of it. Famous however is a country radio song and should get play from radio. Lets hope Sony does their job.

  15. “Dry Town” should have been the lead single, but in these days of “politically correct” thought (or lack of thought, as the case may be) I doubt Sony has the balls to release it as a single

  16. I really don’t see how “Dry Town” is less politically correct than “Kerosene” or “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” It’s just a simple ditty about a small town that doesn’t sell alcohol. What would be controversial about it?

  17. I enjoy the song and agree with the review 85%. Good song. But Miranda is not getting many hits and many, including I, say she is overrated. Soon, just like alot of other talented yet not popular artists, will soon disappear. I hate to see good yet unpopular artists go away. But the song is good. I give it a B.

  18. Well I have a feeling Sony isn’t doing there job to push Miranda as they should! If I am no mistaken Carrie U and Miranda are on the same lable because they all merged making SONGY BGM. Am I correct? If that is true I can see why she is not getting so much attention look who gets it all with promotion. I believe Miranda could drop out of the radar but I feel stronger than not that she want. She has alot of supporters that want let that happened. She sold Million cds without the help of radio. That says something to me anyways. As far as famouse it is doing well it has broke the top 30 and now sits at number 28. Not the best but Ifeelis really good. I like the successes she is getting I feel say in Carrie’s case she is big real big, I use to be a big fan, in small ways I guess I still am but I am getting tired of her, i could put it she is being pushed down everyone’s throughts and soon like say Gretchen Wilson people will soon loose the appreal and realize she is nothing special just the say as the other singers out there and move on to the next one. I feel Miranda is in a good place unlike Carrie who is already at the top where else can she go but down. As for Miranda the only place she can go is up!!! Another example is powerhouse Kelly Clarkson. She doesn’t seem to be doing very good these days either. But eh that is just my opinion!

  19. I didn’t get on board with Miranda until I heard this CD on I had to go out and buy it right away, along with her first one. I love this CD and this song. I love the instrumentation on this song and am disapointed that it hasn’t done better. I love Crazy Ex-Girlfriend too. Anything with a banjo, I’m tellin’ ya.

  20. Yeah, this is such a GREAT song! My favorite part is the ending – the band plays the outro 4 times – it’s raw – not like the slick Nashville sound, but just a Nashville garage band sound if you will.

    Crazy Ex also builds the image she’s trying to project to her fans. It’s raw and maybe not so radio friendly but a perfect CD cut (as opposed to radio cut).

    Ok, “Gunpower & Lead”, in reference to the comment above:

    “What’s in store? How about “Gunpowder & Lead” …! I can’t wait!”

    Yes, I totally love it like you do – BUT – I really had some reservations about the content: Domestic violence where he’s beat her and she’s now on her 2nd six-pack waiting for him to drive up so she can blow him away if he tries to beat her again – really. In the United States we call this “Murder”.

    Yes, I love the song, I love the power of it, I love the “girl done wrong getting revenge on that no good XXX who beat her up (Dixie Chicks – “Earle”) BUT it’s murder (“which I now have the right to commit if you try to beat me again”).

    Miranda co-wrote this with another writer so she’s actually got some of herself in this song. Now if she was singing “I’m going to explode like gunpower and lead”, you know, like a metaphor or whatever, fine. But that’s not what these lyrics say.

    I’m not expecting anyone to agree with me, but I do appreciate the chance to post this ’cause it was sort of bothering me – now I feel better ;).

    I’ve got two miles till, he makes bail
    And if I’m right we’re headed straight for hell
    It’s half past ten, another six pack in
    I’m goin’ home, gonna load my shotgun
    Wait by the door and light a cigarette
    If he wants a fight well now he’s got one
    And he ain’t seen me crazy yet
    He slap my face and he shook me like a rag doll
    Don’t that sound like a real man
    His fist is big but my gun’s bigger
    He’ll find out when I pull the trigger
    I’m going to show him what a little girls made of
    Gunpowder and lead

  21. Here’s my take on this song. I think the tune and production and the vocal performance, and even the lyrics, make for e damned good country song.

    I just wonder, however, if the fact that we as a country have too many young men from small towns dying overseas in wars didn’t hurt this song’s chart performance as much as anything else. In times of peace a song like this would be innocent fluff to any small town listener. In times of war, knowing that the soldiers are often coming home injured or dead to those small towns… well, it just is more heartbreaking than anything else, which belies the image the song is portraying.

  22. i think you are the greatest person ever we have soooo much incommon its not even funny it would be so great to hang out with you sometime. well im one of your greatest fans and love everything you do. <3

  23. This is still my favorite Miranda song. If it was released right now, I have no doubt it would go to the top of the country charts.

    More proof that you don’t have to wail on a song to make a great country record…

  24. I’m gonna say about this song what I said about “More Like Her.” It was a good song, but lacking that punch that would’ve made it a 5 star song. Once again, listen to the album on a whole and there are much better songs.

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