Miranda Lambert, Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music’s reigning Female Vocalist of the Year, takes over the Riverbend stage tonight when her Revolution Continues tour stops by the waterfront.
“Yes, it appears the Revolution is still in full swing,” Lambert said in an email interview. “I hadn’t been able to cross most of the country with this album, so I am just making sure I’m not leaving anyone out!”
Dixie Fuller, production/talent coordinator for Friends of the Festival, said Lambert’s appearance in the Riverbend lineup adds a “real strong female presence,” that the festival hasn’t had since Trisha Yearwood and Martina McBride were headliners.
“This really is cutting edge. Its got a lotta ‘oomph’ to it,” Fuller said of Lambert’s show. “It’s a big show with a lot of production including a video wall. She’s got a great band.”
Lambert is riding a wave of success generated by five consecutive Top 10 hits off her “Revolution” album, the CMA Album of the Year. Its poignant “The House That Built Me” swept the ACM Single, Song and Video of the Year awards, was a CMA song of the year nominee and earned Grammy nominations.
To cap that success, country’s crazy ex-girlfriend (the title of her 2008 album), married Blake Shelton last month.
“We tried to get her and Blake to come, but [he] couldn’t do the show because he was already scheduled,” Fuller said.
So how does Lambert celebrate this success as a solo artist?
She took the risk of forming a new female trio, the Pistol Annies, whom she introduced to the country industry in April on a night she was honored by the Academy of Country Music.
Risk-taking has always been a theme of Lambert’s music since she was introduced to country fans on the 2003 season of “Nashville Star,” where she finished third. She was a cute, blonde teenager who showed viewers a steely determination to succeed, which she’d honed in the Texas bars she’d been playing.
She was the first female newcomer in Nashville to write or co-write the songs on her album. It was a precedent-setting move in the country industry that can be credited with opening doors for Taylor Swift, and other young female singers who followed.
That CD, 2005’s “Kerosene,” made Lambert one of only seven artists in the history of SoundScan with a debut at No. 1 on the country album sales chart.
“How fun to think that I inspired more women to write songs,” she said. “Somehow I hope that I just reminded them it’s OK to write about their experiences. I truly feel there have always been strong women writers, but maybe it wasn’t commercially the norm.”
She launched a career on songs about cheating exes and revenge, such as “Kerosene,” “Sin for a Sin” and “Gunpowder and Lead.” That trademark style prompted Esquire magazine to name her “Terrifying Woman of the Year” in 2010, a year after People magazine had put her on its Most Beautiful People list.
Lambert said forming the Pistol Annies with Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley has been “the perfect addition to my own solo career.”
“Ashley is truly a wordsmith and has the voice of an angel. It (writing songs with them) felt natural and I got very inspired musically, so we started singing for other friends and it was fun. The next natural progression was recording and now we can’t seem to stop. We’ll see what the fans think and take it from there,” Lambert said.
With her husband’s career equally as successful (he’s currently a judge on ‘The Voice’ in addition to touring with his music), she said they are coordinating their schedules so they are on the road Thursdays through the weekend.
“At home we’re just like any other normal couple: he’s out on the tractor, and I’m playing with my dogs and planting flowers,” she said.
She said she has also begun work on her next album.
“I have been writing for the next project, and am now in the studio recording. So far so good, but you may have to wait a little while longer. If all goes well, I will have a new album by the end of 2011.”
9:30 p.m. Miranda Lambert
Bud Light Stage
5:30 p.m. Greensky Bluegrass
7:45 p.m. Marsha Ambrosius
Tennessee Lottery Stage
6 p.m. Muddy Mule
7:30 p.m. Bartlee Norton & 64 Highway
11 p.m. Dirty South
Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union Stage
6:15 p.m. Mark Holder
7:45 p.m. The Mosier Brothers
9:15 p.m. Denny Jiosa
6:30 p.m. Arvel Bird
8 p.m. Matt Andersen
9:30 p.m. The New Familiars
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...