Has marriage to Blake Shelton softened the country superstar?
Miranda Lambert has gone from “Nashville Star” contestant — and not even a winner at that — to country queen in the span of six short years.
With “Four the Record,” her fourth album— get it? — she shows why. The reigning CMA female vocalist has always adored her country sisters who came before — Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn and Emmylou Harris — but she draws just as much inspiration and grit from Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings. This Texan loves her red meat, her guns, her liquor, her country, and her man, when he treats her right.
Jennings once joked that he “couldn’t go pop with a mouthful of firecrackers,” and the same holds true of Lambert. Her success has only made her stronger in her country convictions. Though there are touches of blues and rock on the Nov. 1 release, country blazes through every song here, which are drenched in mandolins, fiddles, pedal steel and a well-placed mournful organ every now and then.
Smartly, Lambert doesn’t try to replicate her modern classic, the tearjerker “The House That Built Me,” from 2009’s “Revolution.” If nothing on “Four” reaches the heights of “House,” the project scores as a consistently more even affair than her past three sets, full of heartache, betrayal, and, above all, attitude. Vocally, the 27-year old Lambert’s twang can sound boastful, regretful and torn all in the same song.
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