When it comes to crafting albums, some artists have higher standards than others, but by and large, the majority of country albums are split down the middle – half of the songs clearly singles and the other half basically filler.
Miranda Lambert, touring behind her platinum-selling 2015 album “Platinum,” doesn’t just step in the recording studio with a handful of pretty good songs and a half-dozen that she knows will never make a Greatest Hits compilation. The six-time reigning Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year realizes that makes her unique in the current musical climate.
“When I make a new album, I take time and care,” Lambert says, on the phone during a break in a tour that brings her to Raleigh’s Walnut Creek on Friday. “I love the process of writing for records and getting ready to record. For me, I think it’s important to record an album. I enjoy listening to full albums. I kind of laugh when I can tell that an artist just threw some filler onto their own album. That is just never an option with me.
“I think with every single time I go into the studio to make a new record, I get very anxious and nervous. I think that’s a good thing, because it would be more alarming if I wasn’t. It just means that I care that much about putting out a good finished album.”
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With all of the controversy surrounding female artists’ role in today’s country music climate, who is to say that Lambert’s penchant for continuously raising the bar for success isn’t the reason she is one of the few in her ranks to enjoy significant airplay on country radio stations? Maybe the answer to the question of how to get more female voices on the air has been producing a product that the playlist programmers can’t refuse.
I just feel like there is something out there for everyone. If you create great music, you create great music.
“Girls have to work extra hard for everything in country music,” Lambert says, “but that means we appreciate it that much more. We have to tour a little extra harder to make sure that folks realize that we are doing something important and valid. Whenever a comment comes out from someone about female artists’ roles in today’s country music, I feel like it puts the male performers in a bad light. I don’t think it’s necessarily the men’s fault that this happens; there are more of them than us, but I just feel like there is something out there for everyone. If you create great music, you create great music. That’s the most important thing.”
Lambert was busy preparing to meet fans at the CMA Music Festival at the time of this interview. When she steps onto the stage at Walnut Creek, she will have been off the stage at LP Field in Nashville for barely 24 hours. The yearly festival, which brings hundreds of thousands of country music fans into Music City to meet and greet their favorite performers, has always been important to Lambert. No matter how many awards she has, Lambert believes this is one of the small ways she can give back to those who have given her so much.
“I’ve been going to CMA Fest on every level you can attend,” the singer says. “I went as a fan, just watching people perform, and then meeting them later for their autograph. I’ve signed autographs myself at the Convention Center when I was first starting out. Now, I just play. I just think it is so important to country music because all of the fans are gathered in one place. If you go as an artist, you pay your own way. No one is making any money to perform for the fans at CMA Fest, but this is the way that we tell the fans ‘thank you’ for four days a year.
“We do our part, because the fans have been doing their part all year long.”
Who: Miranda Lambert
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Walnut Creek, 3801 Rock Quarry Road, Raleigh
Info: 919-719-5500 or livenation.com