Sitting at a corner table at one of her favorite Nashville eateries and sipping a Diet Coke, Miranda Lambert doesn't come across as the gun-toting, cheating boyfriend-hunting, arson-starting character

Sitting at a corner table at one of her favorite Nashville eateries and sipping a Diet Coke, Miranda Lambert doesn't come across as the gun-toting, cheating boyfriend-hunting, arson-starting character she portrays in songs like "Kerosene" and "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend." "I do have a pistol and a handgun license," she says with a laugh.

While the 23-year-old may not have personally done everything she writes and sings about, her life thus far has provided plenty of musical inspiration. "My parents are private investigators, so I have grown up seeing ugly in the world," she says. "I've seen reality. In the last five years or so I've had some relationships go bad, and I do have a little pain in my life."

That outlook has translated into big sales for Lambert's 2005 Columbia debut, "Kerosene," which has shifted 851,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, without the benefit of a No. 1 country airplay single or even a top 10 hit.

"Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," the title song from her new album, due May 1, has already stopped at No. 50. "I really want radio, but I understand why I don't always get it," Lambert says. "I mean, I am controversial-I blow people's houses up and kill people in my songs. I realize that [I'm] not just your average girl singing a song, but people do feel that way, so they want to hear it.

But not every song is as in-your-face. "More Like Her," which Lambert calls "personal and introspective," is a sparsely produced ballad that shows her vulnerable side. "Easy From Now On," a 1978 hit for Emmylou Harris penned by Carlene Carter and Susanna Clark, was a last-minute studio decision. "It's been recorded a few times before, but I don't think you can ever hear it enough," Lambert says.

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