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Miranda Lambert
Revolution
Sony
www.mirandalambert.com


Singer-songwriter Miranda Lambert displays a duel personality on her albums, walking the line between being as gentle as a country rose and as fierce as a tornado ripping across Kansas. Ironically, both are genuine to her nature as she demonstrates the spitfire urgency of punk rock and the calming effects of ambient pop on her new CD Revolution. Her songs have congruent pieces even as polarized elements such as country and punk come together in a fiery union. With a collection of original tracks and cover tunes like Fred Eaglesmith's cowboy rocker "Time To Get A Gun" and John Prine's burly romper "That's The Way That The World Goes 'Round," Lambert showcases an arsenal that is loaded with substance and relevance applicable to everyday living.

Lambert is probably best known for her tough and rugged country rockers, but on Revolution she does not shy away from her softer side like the genteel, countrified acoustics of "The House That Built Me" and the willowy riffs of "Makin' Plans." These tracks display Lambert's flowery love-child side, the daydreamer in her who wraps her arms around her surroundings and sees only love and beauty before her. But Lambert has more than one facet to her persona and she belts out strong with the rowdy, roadhouse rocker "Somewhere Trouble Don't Go" bulging with firecracker-whipping bursts and a throbbing, tribal beating. Her songs take advantage of the pedal steel's tingling twang and the slide guitar's whining along the bobbing swells of "Only Prettier" and "White Liar," and the orchestral frills that ascend and recede along "Maintain The Pain." The sunny chimes bubbling along "Me And Your Cigarettes" and "Dead Flowers" are cupped in gentle rhythmic flutters, and the gilding of delicate guitar pickings strewn along "Airstream Song" give Lambert's vocals a girl-next-door kind of feel.

The dulcet, country/bluegrass atmospherics of "Virginia Bluebell" have finessed acoustics and a glossy finish, complemented by the buoyant crescendos and falls along "Love Song" sprinkled in glistening guitar chords, while the album shifts into a series of robust jabbing and thrusting motions across "Sin For A Sin," written by Lambert and her beau Blake Shelton, which accentuate Lambert's spunky vocal chops. Lambert's lyrics have a penchant for confessing feelings of love, hurt and loss like in "Love Song" when she reflects, "I was standing there crying in the kitchen / It had been one of those mornings that's gonna last all day / And he comes in, wraps his arms around me / And I don't even have to say a thing / That's what makes it love / That's what makes it a love song." Other lyrics shed light on Lambert's feisty side like in "Heart Like Mine" when she storms, "I ain't the kind you take home to mama / I ain't the kind to wear no ring / Somehow I always get stronger / When I'm on my second drink."

Not one to feel insecure by venturing outside of country music's comfort zone, Miranda Lambert is a multi-faceted singer and songwriter who performs more than straight-ahead country while wearing her confidence in plain sight. She may look like a Barbie doll, but she can thrash with the best punk rockers out there and never lose her infamous country twang.

-Susan Frances

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