Miranda Lambert: The Billboard Cover Story

Miranda Lambert: The Billboard Cover Story

The conventional wisdom for artists performing on awards shows is that they should stick to playing and promoting their latest single. But on the 44th annual Country Music Assn. (CMA) Awards show on Nov. 10, out struts"House" became Lambert's first Hot Country Songs chart-topper in June and was universally loved by both fans and Music Row. In a Billboard spotlight earlier this year on four developing Nashville songwriters, "The House That Built Me" was their unanimous choice as the current song they wish they'd written.

But the treasures on "Revolution" are many, including Lambert's own "White Liar," the caustic "Only Prettier" and melancholy "Dead Flowers," as well as inspired covers of

When it comes to covering other writers' songs, "it's got to hit me the right way, something like, 'Oh, my gosh, I wish I had written that myself,' " Lambert says. "When I heard 'The House That Built Me,' it came at me like a freight train. I'd never had a reaction like that to a song before-one I'd written or anybody else's."

As a songwriter, Lambert says inspiration can come from anywhere, or sometimes not at all. "Every day is different as a writer for me," she says. "I can hear something that somebody says and it can hit me in such a way that I'm like, 'Oh, my gosh, that's a line,' " she says. "Or I can get in these moods where my brain just won't turn on."

Lambert adds that "being tormented is great for songwriting," but she's not tormented these days. These are indeed good times for Lambert, who's planning for a May wedding with Shelton.

Being in a relationship with another country star has its advantages and challenges, Lambert says. "The good outweighs the bad," she observes. "The bad is being apart, and also we have way different music tastes, Blake and I. We don't listen to the same kind of music, and we don't record the same kind of music. But that's also kind of good in a way, because we each do our own thing and neither one of us tries to change the other."

And the best part? "When the red carpet and awards show were over, we went home and we're normal," Lambert says. "I made cookies and Blake burned a brush pile."

Lambert says fans' perceptions of her are probably pretty close to reality, though, which for some might be a little scary. "You hear songs like 'Kerosene' or 'Gunpowder & Lead,' you think, 'This girl's going to kick my ass if I say something wrong,' " Overton says. "But she's one of the sweetest women I've ever met in my life. Blake Shelton is a lucky dog."

WHAT'S NEXT

As "Revolution" receives its post-CMA boost, all involved believe there's still life left in the album. "It's not like you have the three singles and it's three-and-out. It's one of those albums you really want to listen to all the way through," says Overton, who notes that he won't push for a quick follow-up. "She's not in that cookie-cutter mode. When she's comfortable, she'll start writing."

Still, Overton has a best-case scenario. "What I would like timing-wise? Another single would probably take us to August, so if the new album was ready, we could probably have a fourth-quarter [2011] album, which would be perfect for me, and the timing would be great for the marketplace." Kraft says a more likely timeline would be to start recording in September and then shoot for a first-quarter 2012 release.

Ultimately, all agree it's Lambert's call. Her ambitions as an artist are, as would be expected, straightforward. "I want to be true to real music and what I love," she says. "I want for my heroes to hear my records and love them, because that's where it all starts, where you get your inspiration."