The pride of Lindale, Texas continues to defy all expectations. When every other country artist on the chart is a chirpy little blonde singing lines from her 9th grade journal. Lambert, writing or co-writing all but four of the album’s 15 tracks, waves her classic country pride flag but amps it way up instead of the lazily chasing a hits-laden pot of gold.
From the Eno/Lanois U2 era opener of the of the excellent White Lies and skipping off the grid Airstream Song, the Sgt. Pepper’s era psychedelic sound effects of Maintain The Pain (where we find Ms. Lambert puts a bullet in her radio. Pop Country commentary Texas style?) to the Sticky Fingers/Southern groove of Somewhere Trouble Don’t Go.
Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum co-wrote Love Song, a song that in Lady A’s hands would probably have been a hot slick mess. Me and Your Cigarettes could do with less electronic hand-claps, but is still a fine song of addiction and regrets co-written by current and boyfriend, Blake Shelton and former Columbia Records artist Ashley Monroe.
Lamert also has a great ear for covers. Here her cover of Fred Eaglesmith’s Time to Get a Gun is a great interpretation and she delivers it like the song of populist last resort it is and not some 2nd amendment rally cry. John Prine’s That’s the Way the World Goes ‘Round absurdest study is given a honky-tonk treatment spiked with Ramones punk-pop adrenaline. The fine art of Southwestern passive-aggression with is detailed in fine form with the scorching Only Prettier.
Lambert is nothing if not study in adept duality. She has been able to straddle the line between country and rock in a way that doesn’t get her tossed into the Americana side of the tracks and she’s the only current country mainstream artists to land on the cover of People and No Depression. Here’s a swaller and a holler to Lambert and hoping she continues to surprise her fans shame Nashville with more gems like Revolution.