Gotta admit, I like Miranda Lambert’s side project, the Pistol Annies—the old-school, bad-girl country trio she put together with Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley—a little better than this record, but only a little.
Lambert had huge success with her previous record, Revolution, and Four the Record is the latest stage in her evolution from raw singer/songwriter to established Country Star. So her productions have become a lot more elaborate than the songs on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, but each track is cool as can be. Lambert rocks harder than most any other current country female—the guitars are hot, the lyrics are sharp and each track has its own fully formed mood and rhythm—from the gritty blues of “Fine Tune” to the country rock of “Fastest Girl in Town” to the Hank Williams–style “Same Old You.”
Lambert relies on several other songwriters for material here, but she has always worked with other writers, and has always chosen songs that brilliantly suit her strong voice and attitude. For great examples of her own writing, check out the lovely “Dear Diamond” or the super-clever single “Baggage Claim” (co-written with Natalie Hemby and Luke Laird). Lambert’s got tremendous talent, range and energy, and her star status is richly deserved.
Producers: Frank Liddell for Carnival Productions, Chuck Ainlay, Glenn Worf. Engineer: Ainlay. Additional recording: Martin Feveyear, Emory Gordy, Steve Christensen, James Towler. Studios: Sound Stage, Ronnie’s Place, TNandTragedy/Tragedy Studio (all in Nashville); Jupiter (Seattle); The Cave (Dallas); SugarHill (Houston); Wincraft Music (UK). Mastering: Stephen Marcussen/Marcussen Mastering (Hollywood).