Originally created 08/11/05

Family drama inspires country newcomer's songs

Country newcomer Miranda Lambert's father was a Dallas police officer, but she's not sure whether her name came from the Miranda rights that police read to those they arrest.

"My father says that I wasn't, but I really may have been," she said in a call from the Nashville, Tenn., metro airport. She was waiting to board a plane for a show date that night at a fair in Beatrice, Neb.

Augusta-area fans will get to see this fast-rising Sony/Epic Records vocalist when she opens for headliner Montgomery Gentry on Sunday at Fort Gordon's Barton Field.

Just a few years ago Ms. Lambert was singing the role of sharpshooter Annie Oakley in her high school's production of the musical Annie Get Your Gun.

Those of you who watched the ABC-TV special Aug. 2 about the Country Music Association's Music Festival (formerly Fan Fair) probably saw Ms. Lambert burning up the stage performing what will be her next single, Kerosene.

She wrote the words and music for the song, which has the hook line "I'm giving up on love, 'cause love's given up on me." That song also is the title of her debut album.

Ms. Lambert already has two music videos based on her first two singles: Me and Charlie Talking (about a teenage love) and Bring Me Down (about loving someone who's not good for you).

Like most of Ms. Lambert's songs, Bring Me Down is complex, and the music video that stars Ms. Lambert is pretty strange in itself. The ending shows her driving away from a loser whom she supposedly loves, yet, instead of speeding straight away, she just keeps driving in circles.

"The director wanted to be symbolic of how you sometimes go around and around in life with the same things," she said.

Ms. Lambert said her choice for a first single would have been Georgia, which she wrote about Travis Howard, a music friend from Chalybeate Springs, Ga., near Columbus.

She conceded she is too close to her songs to be objective in picking hit singles and ended up happy with her producer's and management team's selections.

If you haven't seen her two music videos or other network appearances - she's already been on both the Today and Tonight shows - you might have seen her during the 2002 first season of Nashville Star, USA cable network's talent contest.

She came in third with Buddy Jewell winning the deal. Very few viewers can remember who came in second.

Ms. Lambert was born in Longview, east of Dallas, on Nov. 10, 1983. Her family moved to nearby Lindale, where she grew up, before she started first grade.

Ms. Lambert's father, Rick, played in a band called Contraband when he was a narcotics officer for the Dallas police department.

Her father and mother, Beverly, became licensed private investigators just like on the TV show Cheaters.

Ms. Lambert claims her parents took her on her first stakeout when she was 3. She also said the family's supper conversation was usually about cheating and broken homes, which later provided her some great material for songwriting.

Because Ms. Lambert is a fan of Merle Haggard's music and because she just reached legal drinking age in November, I asked her in reference to Mr. Haggard's song Mama Tried: "Merle Haggard turned 21 in prison doing life without parole. Where did you turn 21?"

She laughed and replied, "I turned 21 in Lindale with about 200 to 300 people at a party. But I got to spend a few days in Las Vegas right after that and really celebrated!"

Don Rhodes has written about country music for 34 years.

He can be reached at (706) 823-3214 or at don.rhodes@morris.com.


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