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CMA Awards: High heels, pyro and a Miranda Lambert misstep

November 9, 2011 |  5:49 pm

Miranda lambert
If there are high heels and pyro, it must be time for Miranda Lambert at an award show.

Now becoming little-more than Nashville's token bad girl, Lambert has an old-school fierceness and a younger-than-it-sounds voice that will grab the listener by the throat when she ramps it up to a howl. Yet her performance here tonight, as well as much of her recent album "Four the Record," illustrate how Lambert is quickly becoming one of the most frustrating artists in mainstream Nashville. 

Increasingly, Lambert seems to be in the middle of an identity crisis. The recession-timed side-project of hers, Pistol Annies, was brisk, understated and packed with true-to-life details. Yet too often writers and producers want Lambert to play the part of the scorned, the crazy or the downright mad.

"Behind every woman scorned is a man who made her that way," she sang in "Baggage Claim" at the CMA Awards, but it's hard not to imagine the Lambert of "Gunpowder and Lead" cringing at such a weak sentiment.

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A better showcase for her at the CMAs would have been her "Dear Diamond," a sort of "Tell-Tale Heart" for the adulterous. It's also a song in which Lambert has the sole writing credit. No doubt she can be an artist to be reckoned with, but everyone else should just get out of her way. 

Prior to Lambert there were two relatively brisk performances. Keith Urban's "You're Gonna Fly" was country via Bon Jovi, if there is such a difference these days. Sara Evans' "A Little Bit Stronger" was Shania Twain-strong, and the Zac Brown Band's pairing with Gregg Allman for "Georgia On My Mind" was perfectly suitable. And for that reason, it stood out.


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-- Todd Martens

Photo: Miranda Lambert belts "Baggage Claim" at the CMA Awards. Credit: Mark Humphrey / Associated Press