Miranda Lambert is making some noise this fall. Of course, that’s nothing new for the country star.
Surrounding herself with an all-women cast of A-list accomplices for her Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars Tour, the famously boundary-busting singer-songwriter is heading all over the country and striking yet another blow on behalf of women in country music. “I think we’re being loud enough at this point that we can’t be ignored forever,” laughs Lambert.
Before Lambert’s Wildcard Tour in 2020, Maren Morris, Ashley McBryde, Elle King, Caylee Hammack, Tenille Townes and Lambert’s supergroup side project, the Pistol Annies, are hitting the road with the country star and showcasing their grit and star power within the country music industry.
In an exclusive interview with Ticketmaster before her Roadside Tour began, Lambert spoke to us about her all-star lineup, elevating women in music and much more.
Creating an All-Star Lineup
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Night 1 & 2 of the Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars Tour were awesome. This is one of my favorite tours I have ever done. From the new set, to the new music, to the rhinestones and fringe, it’s just refreshing and fun. It feels good to be happy and doing what I love most with people I love. Thanks to everyone @mohegansun for helping us kick it off right! See y’all next weekend in MI, OH, and KY! 📸: @bfluke #roadfamily #roadsidebarsandpinkguitars #rhinestones&fringe #allfemalelineup #theshowisontheroad : 👗Thread Creds: @tiffanygiffordstyle Night 1 – customized shirt by @r13denim, customized shorts: @levis, tights by @dbleudazzled and boots @idyllwind Night 2: custom jumpsuit by @anyoldiron, earrings by @alexisbittar Tailoring/embellishments @aubreyhyde
Lambert wasn’t necessarily setting out to make a social statement in curating the tour lineup. “It was organic,” she says, “and it is a happy coincidence. Carrie [Underwood] was just doing an all-female tour [Cry Pretty 360] and now I am. There’s room for more than one or two of us.” Lambert is optimistic about the future for women in country. “I’ve been doing this for a really long time and it’s not an easy fight,” she says, “but I feel like the tide is turning and the tour is just gonna help that even more.”
Morris, McBryde, King, Hammack and Townes are all on the leading edge of modern country, so there was little debate on Lambert’s end when picking her tour partners. “Everybody that I felt really inspired by were the girls that I had been watching and listening to and been a fan of,” she says. “All sorts of new female artists.” They each bring something different to the table, and Lambert can happily address what makes every one of them so uniquely talented.
“Maren — I’ve been nuts about her forever,” she says of Morris. “We’re both from Texas, and I feel like she always had something different, that special thing you’re supposed to have, even as a young girl. And she put in the work, and she put in the time and now she’s come into her own so much as a woman. She’s just unapologetic in her art and does it the way she wants to do it and has such a soulful voice.”
“There’s room for more than one or two of us.” – Miranda Lambert
About King, Lambert says, “She’s just a firecracker. Again, I think the thing all these girls have is they’re just unapologetic about who they are.” She adds that their confidence on stage is impressive. “She is always very honest with her fans through her music and through what she has to say,” Lambert adds. “She’s really transparent and I admire that a lot. And she plays the sh-t out of the banjo, which is cool.”
“Ashley McBryde is like a rock star,” Lambert says. “She’s country as a biscuit, but she’s a rock star. She plays the guitar and writes these amazing country songs and is just bubbly, fun, in your face and definitely adds to the party, not only on stage but backstage.”
Lambert got to know Tenille Townes when Townes opened for Lambert and Little Big Town on their Bandwagon Tour in 2018. “She’s just the sweetest, most humble and kind soul,” Lambert says. “She’s in her 20s, but she writes these songs that are so deep and so touching. Her single ‘Somebody’s Daughter’ is just scratching the surface of what this girl can do.”
“Kaylee I just met and am getting to know,” allows Lambert, “but she’s got this fiery personality — her personality matches her hair. She has a huge voice.”
And then there are Pistol Annies, Lambert’s trio with Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley. “Pistol Annies is such a passion project for me,” she says, “and I love it so much because it also gives me freedom to sort of say what I wouldn’t say alone, and I think it’s the same for Ang and Ash too. Every time they walk on stage, people freak out, and it makes me so happy — it’s so much fun.”
Flexing Her Solo Muscle
Lambert’s been doing some solo summer shows as a run-up to the Roadside Bars tour. She’s in the process of introducing a new batch of tunes to the world in anticipation of the release of her seventh studio album, Wildcard, in November. “I’m excited because the one-offs have started to fire,” she says, “so when the fall comes, we’ll be ready to roll.”
The songs she’s shared so far suggest that this will be Lambert’s most rocking record in a while. The blazing “Locomotive,” for instance, lives up to its diesel-powered namesake with its breakneck pace and weapons-grade guitar riffs. But it didn’t start out that way. “I wrote it with Ashley Monroe,” Lambert says, “and we wrote it on the piano as a slower, soul kind of song. I played it for producer Jay Joyce, and he texted me one day: ‘I think we should try it with a Flaming Red vibe.’ He produced Flaming Red by Patty Griffin. I got in there and it was like this punk vibe, and I loved it and it felt so right.”
Another new tune, “Mess With My Head,” is closer to alt-rock than country. “Yesterday my husband [Brendan McLoughlin] was playing ‘Mess With My Head,'” she relates, “but it was on his Pandora station, and right after ‘Mess With My Head,’ ‘Kerosene’ came on, and it kind of dawned on me: This isn’t new for me, this rock ‘n’ roll thing.”
The same electricity that inhabits Lambert’s new music seems to be wiring her up for her autumn adventure with her co-conspirators. “This is a different show than I’ve done,” she says, “because I have a new energy about me after going through some hard stuff and taking a break from the road. What you hope for when you take a minute off from touring is that you miss it, and boy, did I ever.”
I’m so ready to bring the fire that I have to the cities and stages and to also share the fire of these girls that are coming with me,” Lambert says. “So I feel like there’s gonna be something magical about every night. I’m just not sure what that is yet, but I just know it’s in the water.