She came to us a seeming demure young lady with a compelling vocal and a flare for words, but it didn’t take long for us to see Miranda Lambert for the Texas tornado that she is. And in the years that have passed, her voice and her presence have become absolutely persuasive. One of the most talented and diverse singer/songwriters in our format, Miranda has proven her strength and vulnerability with songs that run the emotional gamut, making her a favorite among both women and men. But if you’re new to Miranda’s world, first, what took you so long? And second, here are our 10 essential tracks you’ll need to complete your catalog…and believe us…this one was tough to narrow down.
1. “Me and Charlie Talking” – from Kerosene
Written by: Miranda Lambert, Rick Lambert, Heather Little
For many of us, this was our introduction to Miranda and it was a good one. Fresh off of her run on Nashville Star, she presented herself as a fresh, young ingenue and a viable songwriter.
2. “Kerosene” – from Kerosene
Written by: Miranda Lambert, Steve Earle
After the sweetness of her debut single, Miranda came out guns a-blazin’ with one of the most iconic songs of her career. When she set the stage on fire during her performance of “Kerosene” at the 2005 CMA Awards, we all learned that this young lady was no one-trick-pony.
3. “Famous In a Small Town” – from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Written by: Miranda Lambert, Travis Howard
Not to be pigeon-holed, Miranda returned to her more innocent self in this sweetly nostalgic and fun romp that had anyone who actually did grow up in a small town grinning from ear to ear.
4. “Gunpowder & Lead” – from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Written by: Miranda Lambert, Heather Little
It was her first Top 10 hit, but “Gunpowder & Lead” was so much more than that. Inspired by the cases that she witnessed her P.I. father working on, it also was a bit of Miranda’s own statement that she wasn’t going anywhere or changing who she was for the Nashville establishment.
5. “More Like Her” – from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Written by: Miranda Lambert
Sure, Miranda had done sweet songs and ballad before, but with this song that just inched into the Top 20, she showed a vulnerability that we seldom saw before and have seen since. We love our strong, sassy, in your face Miranda, but when we see this part of her heart, we love her even more.
6. “The House That Built Me” – from Revolution
Written by: Tom Douglas, Allen Shamblin
You can’t truly call yourself a Miranda Lambert fan if you can’t sing every word along with Ran’s very first No. 1 hit. It’s rare that such a gifted songwriter would cut an outside track, but even Miranda agreed that when a song like this comes along, anyone is lucky to record it.
7. “Baggage Claim” – from Four the Record
Written by: Natalie Hemby, Luke Laird, Miranda Lambert
There’s such a great, natural grit to Miranda’s voice that she showcased in “Gunpowder & Lead,” but with “Baggage Claim,” she upped the ante by combining it with an edgy groove and production that showed another incredible layer to her talent.
8. “Over You” – from Four the Record
Written by: Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton
As difficult as Miranda and Blake’s split was, and as respectful as we want to be, even they can’t deny the overwhelming reach of this breathtaking song. Taken from Blake’s true life experience after losing his brother, he was simply too close to it to perform it, so his wife stepped in. And she continues to perform this undeniable hit.
9. “Mama’s Broken Heart” – from Four the Record
Written by: Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, Kacey Musgraves
Miranda has never been afraid to push the envelope when it came to the production or the content of her songs. She’s also never shied away from cutting something written by someone else if it sounded like something she wrote. She hit paydirt with “Mama’s Broken Heart,” releasing it just before Kacey Musgraves became a country music household name.
10. “All Kinds of Kinds” – from Four the Record
Written by: Phillip Coleman, Don Henry
This isn’t Miranda’s biggest hit, but there’s something about it’s unique sound and production and gracious “love everybody” message that made Miranda sound more like an artist than just a singer/songwriter. It was proof positive that there is absolutely nothing that this young lady can’t sing and it’s a reminder of how lucky we are to have Miranda Lambert in country music.