Don’t be fooled by the dimples and super-cute smile. Miranda Lambert ain’t a little Tammy Wynette “Stand By Your Man” sorta woman. Friday night at Merriweather Post, Lambert unleashed a slew of twangy warnings to misbehaving males.
She came to the stage with Steve Earle’s “The Revolution Starts Now” playing — possibly a bone to her fellow Texan singer/songwriter. Her first big single, “Kerosene,” was said to sound too much like another Earle tune, “I Feel Alright,” and Lambert quickly added a writing credit for Earle. Filched or not, “Kerosene” is a fabulous country rocker about leaving a stormy relationship like a lioness, not a lamb, and on this night the song was made even fabulouser by Lambert’s spinning around and stomping her high-heeled boots on the stage as she sang in a great East Texas drawl that’s grown raspy from the road.
The covers Lambert used to fill out the 90-minute set stood out for their weakness: Any wedding band could have played Rick Derringer’s “Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo,” Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock N’ Roll” and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Travelin’ Band” as straight as Lambert’s supporting cast did.
But Lambert soared when she stuck to the attitudinal songs that have already brought her fame and Grammys. “Famous in a Small Town” painted Lambert’s complicated relationship with burgs less populated than the venues she performs in these days. These small towns are where cheerleaders are the alpha females and it’s everybody’s business that “Tyler and Casey broke up.” Lambert also showed she isn’t all cynical, occasionally revealing her wide-eyed-youngster side, too.
Wearing a glittery miniskirt and hoop earrings with a radius about that of basketball rims, she thanked the fans for all her chart successes, and she gushed about learning that “Heart Like Mine” hit No. 1 the same day she got married to Blake Shelton.
He no doubt earned a mess of brownie points with the new missus by passing on “The House That Built Me” — a song originally offered to him. It’s the smash ballad about the pull of a childhood home that made eyes water quicker than pepper spray could have. Presumably, Shelton also heard Lambert’s material before he said “I do.” Such as “White Liar,” which warns devious dudes that she’ll get the last word if they mess around.
She ranted about men who wrong women before “Gunpowder and Lead,” a song that makes firearms, not diamonds, sound like a girl’s best friend. And Lambert is not letting marriage soften her up. She introduced “Baggage Claim,” a song from her next CD, set for a fall release: It’s about a girl who reacts to being done wrong by throwing away her wayward beau’s worldly goods and cussing him on the way out.