Why Miranda Lambert Is That 4th Mt. Rushmore Name We’ve Been Looking For
Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, and Jason Isbell. Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, and Jason Isbell.
As much as you may be tired of reading about all the enterprises and success of country music’s most intrepid trio, much of the media is tired of writing about them. If anything, it’s the ubiquitousness of these men that have made them more polarizing, and worn the luster off a bit. But one after another, they continue to pile up accolades, win awards, break records and expectations for such independent-minded artists, and consistently continue to turn the country music world upside down without any indication that their musical insurrection will cease anytime soon.
Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, and Jason Isbell comprise the current Mt. Rushmore of independent country and roots music, and that is unquestionable, regardless of how you may feel about any one of them specifically, or even as a group. But what is the fourth mug we can put on top of that mountain? And wouldn’t it be great to have a woman up there to break up the monotony of a man fest?
The answer to this quandary is sitting right under our noses, and has been for years. It’s just the burden of our perspectives have not allowed us to frame it in the proper context. We traditionally think of Miranda Lambert as a mainstream pop country personality, right? We can’t consider her in the same company as a bunch of hardscrabble guys who came up through the independent ranks. But why not?
During Miranda Lambert’s Platinum era, it was hard to raise a pulse about her one way or another with independent-minded music fans. She was just the woman who won the CMA’s Female Vocalist of the Year annually and had some okay songs I guess, but was nothing really to write home about. Of course Miranda’s more dedicated fans have been along for the ride the entire time, but for many, there was a disconnect in the middle era of Miranda Lambert’s career where she went away for her harder, more rootsy material of her early records.
But with her last record The Weight of These Wings, Miranda made the move in a more decidedly Americana and traditional country direction, not just in style, but in overall approach and attitude, not worrying about how radio or Music Row would take it, but wanting to make the music she wants, and champion many of the songwriters and artists she listens to.
And that’s not all. There may not be a bigger champion out there in all of country music willing to share the spotlight with independent artists than Miranda Lambert, even more so that Stapleton, Isbell, and Sturgill. From her love of John Moreland, to her support of the women on the Hard Candy Christmas Tour, to taking artists like the Turnpike Troubadours, Brent Cobb, The Steel Woods, Sunny Sweeney, Lucie Silvas, and many others on tour with her; in fact it was just announced that Miranda will bring out the Turnpike Troubadours, The Steel Woods, Natalie Hemby, and Tenille Townes on her upcoming Bandwagon Tour with Little Big Town.
Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson are on major labels. They just happened to have carved out scenarios for themselves where they’re still able to call all of their own shots, just like Miranda Lambert has done. One of the underlying goals when we first set out to save country music was this very scenario, where the mainstream ranks would be infiltrated by independently-minded artists. There may be no better example of this than Miranda Lambert, even if she was on a major label to begin with.
And just like Stapleton, Isbell, and Sturgill, despite her independent streak, despite her propensity to speak her mind and do her own thing, Miranda Lambert has been successful doing it, continuing to win and be nominated for awards, continuing to log strong sales, but continuing to struggle on purpose simply to do things her way, and the right way. Sure, in the case of Miranda Lambert, she’s coming back down to earth to achieve a more organic and authentic role in country as opposed to rising up from the grassroots of music like the others, but the important thing is that she’s here, doing the work.
So it may feel awkward for a bit. But when the names roll off the tongue about who is setting the pace for how to make country music the right way, and who your non country friends should check out when they want to know who would be a good introduction to the genre, don’t be afraid to include Miranda Lambert’s name, as well as the names of The Turnpike Troubadours, Sunny Sweeney, John Moreland, Brent Cobb, and the other artists Miranda Lambert has very directly championed in her career. Because she’s earned it. They all have earned it. In the future, other names such as Cody Jinks may occupy these Mt. Rushmore spots, but word of mouth, and creating opportunities for others is how this ship will get pointed in the right direction, and Miranda Lambert is steering it that way as much as anyone at the moment. This is the reason she deserves her visage on today’s version of the country music Mt. Rushmore as much as anyone.
March 13, 2018 @ 11:16 am
Good article and I whole heartedly agree Trig. It seems to me with radio not pushing her singles as hard as in the past Miranda has embraced the independent scene even more. She’s also been big on this with who has been writing with her lately. I think another positive to this that you alluded to is how she embraces the female independent artists such as Sunny publicly and helped sprinkle Miranda dust on them.
March 13, 2018 @ 11:18 am
Need some help. The Pot of Gold fest doesn’t have Sturgill listed in their recent promotional material, but Sturgill still has it listed on his site. Is he playing it or not?
March 13, 2018 @ 1:14 pm
He’s not playing. Total bummer. I just wasted $400
March 13, 2018 @ 1:16 pm
At least G. Love and Special Sauce will be there. Perk up. All is not lost.
March 13, 2018 @ 1:18 pm
I’ll look into this. Their site still shows him playing on Saturday:
I beleev most coments are good n Lil Dale otta kwalafi fur saint hood
March 13, 2018 @ 2:18 pm
she aint evan a Jeb Stuart statue in the wurld of cuntry music nice try trigg
March 14, 2018 @ 7:26 am
They posted on FB that Sturgill is no longer playing.
March 13, 2018 @ 11:29 am
I wholeheartedly agree. If that designation has to go to a woman, there’s been NONE more important or deserving than Miranda the last 15 years.
But, if we were playing the Mt. Rushmore game, Hank 3 needs to be up there. You’ve said in the past none of this independent movement would be happening without him … there may not even be a SCM without III … or an Outlaw Station on Sirius.
But, I get the point of the article and it would be nice to see Miranda get her due credit.
March 13, 2018 @ 11:39 am
#1 – Isbell is more rock than country
#2 – I’m not sure Sturgill and Chris are even making country music anymore, Sturgill is kinda “whatever,” he’s acting in Hollyweird now, could be experimental brass and Cassio keyboard Taylor Swift covers on the next album. Chris is really more southern rock than country anyway. Reminds me of the Skynyrd boys more than George J./Merle/Waylon/Alan J.
March 13, 2018 @ 11:48 am
The point is these four people are stirring up the country music space, opening up doors for other artists, creating models for success that don’t involve mainstream radio play or adhering to Music Row’s rules, and they are being very successful at doing it. Of course none of them are straight down the middle country. Nobody ever said they were. Of course they are not going to represent the four favorite artists of any single listener who is yelling at their computer screen right now. They point is these four artists are opening up the music for everyone else in very substantial and measure ways, winning awards, selling records, and defying odds. They may not be at the top of your playlist, but they’re making a big difference to the music, and deserve to be recognized.
March 13, 2018 @ 11:43 am
I’m trying hard to separate my dislike of her personality and focus on her musical accomplishments. In doing so I agree with this article.
March 13, 2018 @ 11:43 am
No woman has a bigger impact on Country Music than Miranda. She sticks to Country Music while many switch to pop for more airtime and radio play. Miranda deffinitely belongs on Mt Rushmore !
March 13, 2018 @ 11:55 am
To me, she’s always been on that mountain, even through the Platinum years.
March 13, 2018 @ 11:56 am
I’m 100% sure that Miranda is the reason I’m a Will Hoge fan. She tweeted about one of his albums when it released years ago so I went to find it and listen to it. I’ve been a fan since. I’m also pretty sure that she mentioned Jason Isbell and that was the first time I had listened to him, I believe before checking out this site. I may be fuzzy on that memory though.
She also seems to be a big fan or friend of Wade Bowen. She sang at Red Rocks with Wade and Randy Rogers and sings background vocals on Wade’s new album
March 13, 2018 @ 11:57 am
I dont think Turnpike needs Miranda.Why do we care about cma’s? MIRANDA needs a hit she comes back from her Nashville crap and finds Texas or Oklahoma artists.
March 13, 2018 @ 1:21 pm
Of course Turnpike doesn’t need Miranda, but I don’t understand the disappoint some have that Turnpike is getting bigger opportunities. This is what you should hope for as a fan. The music is opening up. Better Turnpike gets that opportunity as opposed to some pop country loser.
March 13, 2018 @ 1:52 pm
I guess id rather se Turnpike for 20$ by themselves then 200$ with the others But,i understand your point.
March 13, 2018 @ 2:21 pm
I would not go to a Little Big Town/Miranda Lambert concert just to see Turnpike Troubadours. But luckily they tour all the time through my area, so I don’t need to. You can be happy for the opportunity, but still pass on it as a fan.
March 13, 2018 @ 6:15 pm
I agree. I work too hard for my money to waste it on an arena show sound check. Love Turnpike though. Hope to see them headline a 1,500 seater one day soon. Good for them for getting the opportunity to play to some potential new fans…
March 13, 2018 @ 12:01 pm
I’ll concede, but still have reservations from a musical perspective. But I do about the other three also.
March 13, 2018 @ 12:07 pm
I’ve been a fan since her very first single, “Me and Charlie Talking,” way back in 2004. I still love that song. So, yes, I’m one of those people who still defended her during the Platinum phase, which by the way has some great songs that never went to radio (Babies Makin’ Babies, Priscilla, Another Sunday in the South, Old Shit, etc.).
March 13, 2018 @ 12:08 pm
I don’t know if I’m just to much of a traditionalist but I just don’t get into their music. I did like some of Mirandas early work when I still listened to out local country station, but not much lately. Like my country soaked with steel guitar.
March 13, 2018 @ 12:14 pm
Miranda’s song “To Learn Her” off of her latest album is soaked with steel guitar and while everyone was playing upbeat, non-country songs on anawards show she stood behind a mic and performed this https://youtu.be/aBqzcJFRhTE
King Honky Of Crackershire
March 13, 2018 @ 12:11 pm
Am I banned?
March 13, 2018 @ 12:16 pm
Not yet, but you are banned from hijacking comment threads with off-topic subjects and unnecessarily divisive comments. And don’t leave another comment after this one asking what you’ve done wrong. Either you choose to be a proactive part of this community, or go away. Leave dissenting comments all you want, but stop thinking this is all about YOU.
March 13, 2018 @ 12:27 pm
Well, for what it’s worth, I’m trying to be more substantive and less “angry about everything” in my own comments, and I hope I’m not overstaying my welcome.
Admittedly I lose my cool… pretty regularly, but SCM is the best thing to happen to me on the Country Music front.
I enjoy a lot of Honky’s criticisms of things.
King Honky Of Crackershire
March 13, 2018 @ 12:52 pm
I’m not sure how to give my opinions in a way that you’ll accept. I can’t say things I don’t believe, so what’s a bitter, Country Music lover to do?
March 14, 2018 @ 9:23 am
FREE KING HONKEY
I beleev most coments are good n Lil Dale otta kwalafi fur saint hood
March 13, 2018 @ 2:33 pm
trigg wood make stalen prowd with the sensorship n all
March 13, 2018 @ 9:33 pm
Seriously! After all, Trig is a self-proclaimed “benevolent dictator”. Often comes up short on the benevolency though. Sorry Honky, this can’t be about you, me, or the readers because its all about Trig. I’m sure I’ll be tarred and feathered publicly for this like you have been for challenging the almighty Triggerman.
As loyal readers and customers to this site, we should have every right to call out bullshit when we see it. And when a site called Saving Country Music starts cramming Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, etc down our throats, we should be pissed. We should also be pissed when we are censored for voicing our concerns, but yet Trig can tell us to “fuck off” and “eat shit” and post under multiple aliases without accusation because it’s his site and all about him.
And for the record, to keep this on topic, I have no issues with Miranda Lambert and that would be one badass Mt. Rushmore.
March 14, 2018 @ 6:31 am
Sorry Honky, this can’t be about you, me, or the readers because its all about Trig.
29 likes and counting for Trigger’s response suggests you might be wrong there. I know I’m way beyond sick of “King Honky’s” selfish ass, and I’ve been a regular reader since 2010. I do my best to ignore him, just like I often ignore articles that don’t interest me.
March 13, 2018 @ 12:21 pm
Is there really nobody else that we can look to?
maybe… gee… Cody Jinks?
I’m far from a huge fan of his work but he’s far better, far more Country, and far more appropriate for this consideration than “let’s record another song about the same stuff” Miranda Lambert.
I get it. I too enjoyed Pistol Annies, I too enjoyed Tin Man.
but Miranda Lambert has got some work to do to erase the bad taste in our mouth.
I’m not arguing. I just question if it’s too early to say these things
March 13, 2018 @ 1:35 pm
Cody Jinks very well may be a “Mt. Rushmore” artists by the end of 2018. In fact, Saving Country Music has predicted that very thing:
But right now he’s not the one winning awards, setting records, and turning country music upside down like these others. He’s not able to bestow opportunities like Miranda. Now all of that might change very soon, but this is how it sets up at the moment.
This was not a “who’s everyone’s favorite four artists?” exercise like it is being taken by many. I think it is fairly universally-recognize the Sturgill, Stapleton, and Isbell have been leaders in this space. And I think it’s fair to ask if Miranda’s name shouldn’t be included here.
Also, just because you compliment one artist, doesn’t mean you insult another. I’ve seen this more in more how people are interfacing with music coverage. Every artist that is doing great things should have their day in the sun. I gave Cody’s when I said 2018 would be a huge year for him.
Also, this isn’t necessarily a direct response to you Fuzzy, just some broader points I wanted to make.
March 13, 2018 @ 1:58 pm
We all know how those awards she’s won at the ACMs and CMAs came to be. Over time they begin to lose their meaning
March 13, 2018 @ 2:17 pm
All fair points…
but is it fair to other artists to give Miranda Lambert a free pass on her “less Country” and “less substantive” music just because she does a lot of good things…
For me it’s kind of a case of “I feel like she has done a lot of stuff I disagree with” that makes it harder for me to heap amounts of praise on her.
March 14, 2018 @ 6:34 am
Not winning awards or breaking records? Didn’t know we followed the popularity aspect, thought
was more focused on quality of work. This site is becoming more and more expendable.
March 14, 2018 @ 7:02 am
Man, I’m getting more and more tired of folks pulling my words out of context to make me appear to have an opinion that I don’t. Obviously if I was obsessed with popularity I wouldn’t be writing features on Dallas Moore and Larry Peninsula. I’m simply saying that if an artist is going to have a wider impact beyond their own fan base, they need to have an impact on things such as awards shows and the charts to get into the viewshed and social stream of new fans and the industry to have it resonate to a wider expanse. That isn’t to knock any artist, that is just the realities of how you influence the culture at large.
March 13, 2018 @ 12:44 pm
I personally think Rhiannon Giddens might be the better choice. Like the other three, she is on the rise.
My big three women country/roots music artists are Patty Griffin, Gillian Welch, and Lucinda Williams, in that order. I like Miranda fine, I guess, at least what I’ve heard of her here and there. Maybe I need to live a little more attention to The Weight of These Wings.
March 13, 2018 @ 1:00 pm
Patty Griffin is everything. I wish she got more attention. She certainly deserves it. She’s one of my favorite songwriters ever. Her music moves me deeply.
March 13, 2018 @ 1:22 pm
I agree. And she’s been so consistent that I find it hard to pick a favorite album of hers. And for combination songwriter and singer, she’s very hard to beat.
March 13, 2018 @ 12:58 pm
Miranda is the only primarily country singer on that mountain.
Sturgill Simpson could carry on a Waylon style, but he doesn’t want to. Chris Stapelton could weigh heavier on the country scale, as Travis Tritt did, but he seems to be going the other way. I tried listening to Isbell but after three songs I had to turn him off. Didn’t sound country to me at all.
March 13, 2018 @ 1:42 pm
Isbell is great, but you’re right. He isn’t country.
March 13, 2018 @ 2:30 pm
Just curious. Which 3 songs?
And, he isn’t country, I don’t think he would even say he is.
He is Americana which these days to me wraps up all types of “good music”.
Tell an Average Joe that you listen to “country” and see what bands they think of.
March 13, 2018 @ 1:01 pm
I definitely agree. For years, Miranda has used her platform to champion other artists. I loved “The Weight of these Wings.”
March 13, 2018 @ 1:39 pm
More like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Who cares about their popularity? With the exception of some Miranda songs and early Sturgill, you have artists with no link to Traditional Country Music.
March 13, 2018 @ 4:02 pm
I agree Mike. I like these artists With the exception of Stapleton, but none of these people are consistently traditional country
March 13, 2018 @ 4:57 pm
A lot of the legends of traditional country weren’t consistently traditional country and dabbled in combining country with the pop, rock and other contemporary styles of their time.
Cool Lester Smooth
March 13, 2018 @ 7:55 pm
Hell, that’s why they’re legends.
March 13, 2018 @ 9:01 pm
I don’t see anyone calling these artists traditional country. I went out of my way in the article to make sure to say they weren’t straight down the middle country. That’s not the point of this. Too many people are taking this as a visual exercise and making too much of the illustration without reading the article.
King Honky Of Crackershire
March 14, 2018 @ 6:55 am
A lot of? That’s fake news.
March 13, 2018 @ 7:57 pm
“As far as I’m concerned, he’s the only one out there. The rest of them sound like a bunch of (crap) to me. He comes out and does a great show, ” – Merle Haggard on Sturgill and the state of country music. Your opinion is invalid
March 14, 2018 @ 6:55 am
Did Merle just say that? Read my post carefully before you convince everybody what you don’t know.
March 14, 2018 @ 7:04 am
” With the exception of some Miranda songs and early Sturgill, you have artists with no link to Traditional Country Music.”
Your comment is implying that only early Sturgill has a link when Merle said that comment well after High Top Mountain. I value Merle’s opinion way more than yours.
March 13, 2018 @ 1:39 pm
Think I’d take Whitey Morgan as the 4th face. Jinks is alright too but he don’t touch Whitey IMO.
March 13, 2018 @ 1:45 pm
None of them are anymore country than what the mainstream is pushing, so what is the difference? Might as well throw Luke Bryan in the group. What’s this site coming to?
March 13, 2018 @ 2:42 pm
Jason Isbell https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4V_vBPaI1d0
Sturgill Simpson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5i7ENvE_WQ
Chris Stapleton https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kBnFgLP8po
Miranda Lambert https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rzvss4U1AI
None of these sound more country to you than mainstream radio? If so, I envy whatever radio station you’re listening to.
March 13, 2018 @ 3:14 pm
Thank you, Trainwreck92. And you could give dozens of other examples, I’m sure, as could I. People like “Hank” are why we can’t have nice things. It boggles the mind that anyone could seriously say that these four are not “anymore country than what the mainstream is pushing.” That’s utterly ridiculous.
March 13, 2018 @ 4:36 pm
Hank isn’t the problem, Kevin. People that don’t know, or support Traditional Country Music are.
March 13, 2018 @ 1:48 pm
I have always thought Miranda was very overrated. Still do.
March 13, 2018 @ 6:05 pm
A Blake super fan, I presume?
March 13, 2018 @ 2:07 pm
Good bless Cody Johnson!!!
March 13, 2018 @ 2:10 pm
March 13, 2018 @ 2:17 pm
Totally true. I stopped counting the number of artists I discovered through Miranda. She is an extremely solid performer, and a champion for new talent. Let me quote her, as she’s a lot more eloquant than I can be:
I’m the keeper of the flame
The teller of the story
Keeper of the flame
For the ones that came before me
For the little pilot lights waiting to ignite
Like fireflies in the rain
Keeper of the flame
March 13, 2018 @ 2:53 pm
I completely agree! I understand not everyone will identify with her, but people have to recognize her quality!
I also don’t understand the middle-of-career criticism that sometimes gets thrown around. Sure, Platinum produced some poppier-sounding hits, but she was still hitting us with amazing songwriting and country quality – on Platinum, one just needs to turn to Priscilla, Bathroom Sink, Old Sh!t, All That’s Left, Gravity is a B**ch, Holding On to You, and especially Hard Staying Sober with Mr. Stapleton himself – that has to be in her top 10, if not top 5 tracks. There are also plenty of amazing cuts on Four the Record and Revolution – I won’t ever forget some of the Lines in Dead Flowers or Me and Your Cigarettes, and Same Old You and Dear Diamond are stunning.
(P.S. Trig – when I looked her up on Spotify to identify some of these tracks, there are quite a few songs from Four the Record and down unavailable for play – I wonder what that’s about)
March 13, 2018 @ 4:36 pm
if the mainstream is cooling off on miranda, it has more to do with her romantic life than her music. one glance at the country top 40 proves that they’ll play any hot piece of garbage just so long as they like you. and people don’t like miranda as much as they used to.
the only other person i can think of who’s had as much impact pushing country in the right direction, this decade, is jamey johnson. he’d be a shoo-in for the fourth spot alongside the holy trinity of isbell/simpson/stapleton if he’d just get his ass back in the game with some fresh music. think of the backlog of ideas and song fragments he must be accumulating. he may no longer be pursuing the muse but that don’t stop inspiration from striking. the day he decides to reclaim his throne i’ll be expecting nothing less than an album a month every month, for a whole year with a number #1 song on every one.
Cool Lester Smooth
March 13, 2018 @ 7:58 pm
JTE’s another guy who was in that first wave, but tapered off before things really got rolling with the release of Traveller.
March 14, 2018 @ 12:38 am
Justin and Hank III would’ve been prime candidates for a 2000’s-era Mt. Rushmore of Renegade Country Artists.
March 14, 2018 @ 7:05 am
Agreed. They would have been #1 and #2 in 2009.
March 13, 2018 @ 4:44 pm
“to taking artists like the Turnpike Troubadours, Brent Cobb, The Steel Woods, Sunny Sweeney, Lucie Silvas, and many others on tour with her; in fact it was just announced that Miranda will bring out the Turnpike Troubadours, The Steel Woods, Natalie Hemby, and Tenille Townes”
This is the most important part to me. Stapleton did this last summer carrying Margo Price and Brent Cobb on the ticket with him. Eric Church has brought some lesser known artist with him as well from what I have been told. I hope Dierks Bentley does this when he tours for his new album. Come to think of it Miranda Lambert had Jack Ingram and Eric church on tour with her the 1st time I saw her years and years ago.
March 13, 2018 @ 4:48 pm
I love you for this 🙂
March 13, 2018 @ 5:16 pm
Absolutely agree with Miranda. I’ve said before that I could see her and Sturgill starting their own label and I still can. As for the real country argument, Willie. Waylon, and especially Johnny were all pushing boundaries in country. That’s what makes them legends and true artists.
March 13, 2018 @ 6:49 pm
Sturgill Simpson doesn’t play country music. Stapleton is more southern rock than country. Isbell fades between country/folk/rock… You guys are supposed to be “saving country music”? How about picking some country artists for this montage?
March 13, 2018 @ 9:07 pm
You’re not telling anyone anything they don’t already know. All of this stuff is a given. It’s been argued for years. I’ve posted dedicated articles about the non-countryness of all three of these guys. Two weeks ago I posted one that quoted Alan Jackson that went mega viral.
The point is that for years Sturgill, Stapleton, and Isbell have been lumped together as the guys saving country music. And not by me, but by much of the media. My only point is that if you’re going to give these three guys credit, you also have to give it to Miranda Lambert because of all that she has done to promote other artists and songwriters, especially ones that are true country.
Folks need to stop acting like this is a, “Who are the four most country artists at the moment” exercise. It wasn’t represented as that, but the allure of the illustration was apparently too much for folks to take in without actually reading the article.
March 13, 2018 @ 8:44 pm
I agree rosco.
March 13, 2018 @ 10:06 pm
Patty Griffin. Patty Loveless. They sound country to me. Miranda catches lightning in a bottle every once in awhile. But don’t start carving her face on a mountain.
March 14, 2018 @ 1:52 am
Great article. Thank you to Miranda Lambert, our keeper of the flame.
March 14, 2018 @ 3:14 am
Miranda Lambert !?
Why not…let’s say…Barbara Mandrell for the 4t Mt. Rushmore name. She was “Country When Country Wasn’t Cool”.
She won awards (like the EOTY/CMA in 81 & 82), a grammy, golden records (Best Of-album), is a member of the CMHOF , Opry & Steel Guitar Hall Of Fame. Barbara Mandrell retired a couple of years ago.
Un-/popular opinion: Miranda Lambert is very talented. But there are so many deserving (female) artists who are lesser known, retired or forgotten with a longer career, better albums, who are/were outspoken, played in smaller venues, honky-tonks or clubs. Traditional or country-pop. Las Vegas or Blue Ridge Mountains. Without the help of a casting show or a record contract with a big Nashville label.
Miranda Lambert will have to wait in line behind Connie Smith, Jeannie Seely, Dolly, Loretta & Tammy, Patty Loveless, Suzy Bogguss, Kathy Mattea, Janie Fricke, Crystal Gayle, Donna Ulisse, Patsy Cline, Alison Krauss, Tanya Tucker, Lacy J. Dalton, Kitty Wells, Shelly & Dottie West, Liz & Lynn Anderson, the Carter Family members, Reba McEntire, Norma Jean, Skeeter Davis, Billie Jo Spears, Sammi Smith, Jeannie C. Riley, Rose Maddox, Donna Fargo, the Judds, K.T. Oslin, Jean Shepard, Amber Digby, Jan Howard, Lee Ann Womack, Trisha Yearwood, Dale Evans, Emmylou Harris, Rosanne Cash, Rhonda Vincent, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, songwriters (& singers) like Matraca Berg, Cindy Walker & Brandy Clark…& so many more artists. A long way to go for Miranda Lambert.
Don’t let me start about the other three names. But Simpson, Isbell & Stapleton are not on my list.
George Jones, Gene Watson, Randy Travis, Dwight Yoakam, Buck Owens…oops.
March 14, 2018 @ 7:05 am
Another reaction to an illustration as opposed to an article.
Bigfoot is Real (now that's country!)
March 14, 2018 @ 7:17 am
LOL, Trigger why do you continue to write articles no one reads prior to commenting? Just go with a headline and wait for the monkeys to fling poo.
March 14, 2018 @ 7:34 am
The Facebook effect. Many truly have no idea there’s an article you’re supposed to read attached to a headline and image.
OlaR (Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool)
March 14, 2018 @ 9:09 am
Bigfoot is Real…
…why do you continue to write comments to answers you don’t like?
Well…i will listen to some country songs now. With steel & fiddle. About cheating & lost love. Classic country. Not americana. Not hipster-east-nashville stuff. Or “country” artists who are not-so-country & who can’t save country music but are blogger-darlings.
March 14, 2018 @ 3:16 am
my 2 cents: those three guys made an impressive impact on the country music world. and a positive one in my opinion. How can anyone say that Chris Stapleton has no links to the country world? Steeldrivers anyone? and all his albums got country gold in them! (not just country ok but c’mon don’t be talibans).
March 14, 2018 @ 4:50 am
She can be the 4th as long as the other three are Cody Jinks, Whitey Morgan and Jamey Johnson. And as long as Sunny Sweeney doesn’t object.
Jason, Chris, and Sturgill deserve to be up there about as much as Teddy Roosevelt does on the one in South Dakota.
(Insert meme of Willie, Waylon, Merle, and Johnny in badass poses saying ‘You just keep right on thinking that, pardner.’)
March 14, 2018 @ 5:58 am
I think the only serious candidate in that list is Cody Jinks. JJ hasn’t made an album of originals since what, 2010? And I love Whitey, but he and Sunny are pretty obscure outside of our circles.
The meme reference is cute, but I’d say each one of those three pushed the against the country music boundaries of their time.
I do like that saying, though. It’s what my high school Physics teacher would say when we’d try to get assurances that a certain topic wouldn’t be on the test. It was a Catholic school in North Jersey and he was from “the real Florida”, like Elizabeth Cook. Best damn teacher I had in HS.
March 14, 2018 @ 6:38 am
The real Florida: The further north you go, the more southern it gets.
March 14, 2018 @ 7:07 am
I live in Virginia, but not the real Virginia. In the real Virigina, there’s a lot more people that love the Yankee slicker con man from New York City.
March 14, 2018 @ 7:11 am
Haha. You live in the “New Dominion:” A bunch of millionaire welfare loafers suckling at the government teat. Buying up half blocks in Vienna and knocking down three, four-bedroom houses to build a McMansion.
March 14, 2018 @ 7:50 am
Damn Yankees are ruining the South and I say that as a Yankee.
March 14, 2018 @ 8:01 am
and I say that as a Yankee.
Well, then it must be true.
March 14, 2018 @ 12:03 pm
Theodore Rex Roosevelt in my opinion was the best President …. he hated the Constitution, wanted God off currency (thought it sacrilegious) and was the first conservationists.
Cody Jinks I think will eventually make it but at the expense of whom? Isbell is in my top 25, Stapleton in my top 100 … but I can recognize their towering achievements in this genre.
March 14, 2018 @ 6:20 pm
I agree that Teddy was the best, and he is certainly my favorite president. However, to say he “hated the Constitution” is a grave overreaction. Yes, some of his actions regarding land, wildlife and other natural resources were deemed “unconstitutional” by a particular faction of Americans, but the simple fact is the Constitution gives very little if any guidance regarding the conservation of wildlife and natural resources. He took that issue into his own hands, which makes him a hero, then and now. I shutter to think what much of the protected land we have today would look like if not for Teddy.
He also largely supported gun rights.
He adhered more to the Constitution than any President we’ve had in recent times, Democrat or Republican.
A true badass of a President if there ever was one. The man took a bullet and finished his speech anyway!
March 14, 2018 @ 7:27 pm
“The Constitution was made for the people and not the people for the Constitution.”
Hated is strong. He thought the constitution should be fluid, an evolving document. He thought that 100 years ago, I can’t imagine what he’d think today.
His trust-busting policies were other examples but not limited to how he challenge to the constitution.
I always ask “why do we follow a document written by whig-wearing men with wooden teeth?’
I spent the winter reading all three volumes of Edmund Morris’ biography of the Colonel.
March 15, 2018 @ 5:00 am
And he was correct. The constitution can and should be changed when it does not align with freedom and human rights. I think the Bill of Rights in itself is about the most perfect set of freedoms ever written down by man, now that amendments have been made and it applies to everyone, of course.
I don’t think Teddy had any issue with the core freedoms afforded by the Constitution itself.
March 14, 2018 @ 8:35 am
I have nothing against Miranda.
I’ve even gone to see her live.
I don’t begrudge her for her success.. She worked for it.
I can even appreciate that she has a ton of fans that love her.
I can appreciate what she does to help some people’s careers.
I just don’t listen to her by choice/preference. If being played, I’d listen.
There are just many female artists I prefer to listen to over her.
I tried to get in to the last album. There were a few cool tracks. The whole length of it killed it for me I think.
I understand the direction she wanted to take with it, I think, but it didn’t hit me in any special way.
It is all personal opinion, I just don’t know if I consider her iconic or memorial worthy, but I guess I don’t hold it against anyone if they feel that way.
March 14, 2018 @ 8:46 am
This is pretty much where I’m at with Miranda.
I played the first several tracks from the The Weight of These Wings this morning. I liked it fine. Didn’t love it.
Mid 30’s to late 40’s soccer mom
March 14, 2018 @ 9:13 am
Something something something Miranda is overrated something something something Blake something something something she’s still bitter over the divorce something something something boring and dull something something SOMETHING SOMETHING SOMETHING something something
Mid 30’s to late 40’s soccer mom
March 14, 2018 @ 9:15 am
Oh, forgot the hashtag! #TeamBlake
March 14, 2018 @ 9:20 am
Lucinda Williams or Roseanne Cash are far more deserving and representing of the current “independent country and roots music” scene than Miranda Lambert.
Holly Williams…Brandy Clark…Wynonna ….Alison Krauss…
Hell even Kellie Pickler or Ashley Monroe are more authentic than Lambert.
Her last album was a turd.
I don’t care what the critics say.
Two discs of utterly forgettable songs.
Horrible production, songwriting and performance.
March 14, 2018 @ 9:34 am
Keep playing, I think you will find songs you love. Try I’ve Got Wheels, Pushing Time, Use My Heart, Things That Break, Well-Rested, To Learn Her. Phenomenal song writing and excellent vocals. This is Miranda’s personal journey after the breakup of her marriage. Running from heartbreak, confronting the heartbreak, and starting to move on.
March 14, 2018 @ 10:26 am
Doesn’t Ryan Bingham deserve to be included in the discussion of the best we have in this generation?
March 14, 2018 @ 8:35 pm
That’s a name I haven’t thought of in years. When Mescalito was released, I thought he was the next big thing. One night in 08 I drove from Detroit to Pittsburgh and back that night to see him.
March 14, 2018 @ 2:47 pm
Yeah Sturgill/Jason/Chris aren’t country. I get it. They’re not the same as what country USED to be. I’m not excusing pop country crap at all, but music DOES change… 50s country and 70s outlaw were very different, and Dwight/Clint/Alan are different yet… and now with these 3 the “Americana/Southern Rock Revival” era is here, with folkier songwriting and rock sounds. That’s ok!
Their music is, sorry, a lot more relevant for the public eye now than a straight-up copy of “country-western” music from 40 years ago. There is a place for “classic” country, but S/J/C are the guys for the time, taking the traditional building blocks and forming something fresh and modern that can give a meaningful alternative to pop and hip-hop’s commercial sameness.
And whether you like Miranda or her music, she definitely belongs on the “pioneer of quality music” dogpile with them.
The guys we need to be calling out are the bland, JoeSchmoBro commercial prettyfaces (Brett 1 and 2, Rhett, etc)
Cool Lester Smooth
March 16, 2018 @ 3:45 pm
S/J/C’s music is what “evolution” ACTUALLY sounds like.
March 14, 2018 @ 4:24 pm
I’m ambivalent about Miranda Lambert. On the one hand, that “middle phase” of her career was thematically monotonous to me. It seemed that every one of her hits was about being a snarky, badass woman. Which is a savvy conceit, but quickly felt like a gimmick, despite the obvious talent on display. On the other hand, there’s no point arguing against the “country” viability of “Vice” when it’s such a heartfelt jam, especially when – as you and other posters have acknowledged – Isbell, Sturgill, and (to a lesser extent) Stapleton exist beyond the traditional sonic template of the genre. For every rural ballad like “House That Built Me,” there’s a glib rocker like “Somethin’ Bad”. I abhor the same intrusive People-magazine culture that Lambert has been artfully resisting, but it’s hard to argue that her divorce from Blake Shelton didn’t transform her output for the better; you admit as much when you regard “Weight of These Wings” as the herald to a new, fresher epoch in her career. A mournful, stripped-down Lambert is a richly superior character to the cartoonish rebel she used to be.
So I don’t hate the designation. I’d opt for Childers, but by my same logic I have to concede that one fantastic album isn’t enough to attain to a position on Mount Rushmore. To me, the jury is still out. But I like what she’s become – and not because I view her as a woman first and a musician second, which is the pitfall of honest critical appraisals in 2018.
March 15, 2018 @ 12:29 pm
To me Miranda Lambert is the best to me she is the greatest singer i know her. and Dolly Parton .
March 16, 2018 @ 8:20 am
Clear another spot, because sooner or later, he will be there:
March 18, 2018 @ 2:56 pm
Wow, I see you’ve still got that hard on for Miranda (And the normal trio). Nothing new to see here folks.