Miranda Lambert Brings Out the Deep Cuts at First of Two Hall of Fame Shows

Hunter Kelly

Miranda Lambert got a little mystical at the beginning of the first of two Artist in Residence shows at the Country Music Hall of Fame’s CMA Theater in Nashville on Sept. 19. Before introducing the theme for the night, Miranda said she was going to let “the ghosts of country music” talk to her throughout her set. Those spirits were certainly speaking loudly to me as she made her way through deep album cuts from each of her solo studio albums, starting with “Love Is Looking for You” from her 2004 debut, Kerosene

She called these songs “The Ones That Got Away,” which means most of them were never even released as singles. A lot of thought and a lot of practice went into this show since Miranda admittedly had never performed some of these deep cuts in front of an audience before. 

For those of us who’ve been watching Miranda create this body of work over the last 14 or so years, the show served a reminder of the high level of songcraft she’s maintained throughout her run. Her performance of early cuts “Bring Me Down” and “Greyhound Bound for Nowhere” demonstrated Miranda’s ability to capture deep heartbreak and longing in her lyrics while she was just a teenager.

While introducing Crazy Ex-Girlfriend deep cut “Desperation,” Miranda said, “I wrote this when I was 21 and heartbroken. I was heartbroken then, and I’m heartbroken now. I guess I was foreshadowing.”

The upbeat songs were in short supply, but she did lighten the mood with “Airstream Song” and “Heart Like Mine,” both from Revolution. Miranda did warn the audience at the top of the show, “If you don’t like sad songs you might want to leave. My grandma said, ‘If you don’t like sad songs, you don’t like country music.’”

A new Pistol Annies album is expected to release before the end of this year, but only one of Miranda’s fellow Annies joined her for this show. Ashley Monroe was there to trade vocals on two songs she co-wrote with Miranda — the aforementioned “Heart Like Mine” and the exquisitely-written “Me and Your Cigarettes.”

Miranda’s frequent co-writer, Natalie Hemby, also joined Miranda to perform “White Liar” and the Revolution album closer, “Virginia Bluebell.”Allison Moorer, who Miranda said was her favorite singer/songwriter, was on hand to tell the story of writing the Four the Record album closer, “Oklahoma Sky,” just for Miranda. The song was inspired by Miranda’s love story unfolding in Oklahoma at the time, and Allison wrote the song while on a fishing trip in a remote part of New Zealand with one of her former loves. 

At the end of that story, Allison said, “The dudes, they come and go. The song remains. We’ve still got the song.”

The crowd whooped it up at that zinger, and Miranda commented before singing “Dead Flowers” that she was pleased the crowd was a rowdy one. She’d feared it would be a formal affair since it was taking place at the Hall of Fame but was relieved to find it felt more like a bar thanks to the audience’s enthusiastic reaction.

Miranda closed out the night with selections from Platinum — “Gravity Is a Bitch” and the devastating “Dear Diamond — before ending with two songs from The Weight of These Wings — “Tomboy” and “I’ve Got Wheels.”

She’ll perform her second Artist in Residence show at the Country Music Hall of Fame on September 26, and a lot of fans, including this one, are hoping for a debut of some of the new Pistol Annies music during that set. Originally published in 2018.

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