Even as her sophomore album "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" continues its gold-certified run with its third top 20 country single, "More Like Her," Miranda Lambert is busy finishing her next release, which is due out in September.
"Winning the (Academy of Country Music) album of the year is the best thing and the worst thing," Lambert tells Billboard.com. "It's awesome, but now it's kind of, 'Where are we gonna go from here? We just won album of the year.' So there's definitely a lot of pressure, but in a good way."
Lambert says she's worked on about four songs so far for the new set and is back in the studio now hoping to finish before her next spate of touring -- including a run on Kenny Chesney's Sun City Carnival Tour -- begins. She's recording in Nashville with the "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" team of Frank Liddell and Mike Wrucke, mixing her own songs with submissions by other writers.
"What's fun is the more success you have, the better the songs are that you're pitched," she notes. "The first record people pitch you songs, and sometimes they're like the ones that Tim (McGraw) threw away and that kind of thing. But this time around it seems like I'm getting a lot of great songs up front."
Lambert says her success has also given her some license to "go out and experiment a little bit more now, because people accepted my left-of-centeredness. I keep evolving as a person and just get more gutsy with what I want to do in music and things I want to say."
Boyfriend Blake Shelton, who co-wrote "Bare Skin Rug" with Lambert for his latest album, "Startin' Fires," is a possible guest "if we find something that feels right," she says.
Meanwhile, Lambert is excited by the prospect of touring with Chesney after opening a handful of dates for him in 2008. "I think Kenny and I are a very good match," she says, "because he has a wide audience. He has nine-year-old girls and then there are 90-year old grandmothers that love him. I really think I can deliver as far as pumping up his crowds.
"I've been so fortunate when it comes to tours," Lambert adds. "My first tour was (with) Keith Urban, and from him to George Strait and then to Dierks Bentley and Toby Keith and now Kenny Chesney. I've been spoiled, in a way, because I've gotten to learn from the greats of the business. Kenny's kind of like icing on the cake."