Miranda Lambert is still at the forefront of country music, more than 20 years after she began her careerFLICKR/Rona Proudfoot

To quote Rolling Stone, perennial country superstar Miranda Lambert has had as good a decade as almost any other artist alive — a statement they made after placing three of her records on their 100 Best Albums of the 2010s. This would be a remarkable feat for any artist, and is also one entirely unmatched by any other artist outside of hip-hop.

Somehow, since then, she has only raised the bar higher — for, indeed, few artists alive have had as good a year as Miranda Lambert has since the beginning of 2021. Not only has she completed three albums — including the Grammy-nominated, bare-bones collection The Marfa Tapes — and achieved more success on the country singles charts than she has in years, but she also hit a major career milestone when she won the ACM’s top prize, the Entertainer of the Year Award, for the first time in her 20-year-long career.

“C2C is the biggest country music festival in Europe and is held annually across three days in London, Glasgow, and Dublin”

This win was undoubtedly an immense personal victory for Lambert. Although she holds the title of most decorated artist in ACM history, with 37 wins to date, she had somehow never clinched the top award — despite six previous nominations. However, it was also a major victory for women in country music, who have long been shunned from consideration for the prize. Her 2022 victory marked the first time in 10 years that a solo female artist has won the category.

Lambert had been a regular at the awards until this year, performing several times including at the 2019 ceremonyMiranda Lambert

Ironically, her major win at the ACM Awards on March 7th also marked the first time in 17 years that Miranda Lambert had not attended the event, which is hailed as one of the most important in the industry. Perhaps serving as a testament to her work ethic, her seemingly bizarre absence was only the case because Lambert had already flown abroad that weekend to prepare for another key event in the country music world, Country 2 Country Festival. Country 2 Country, or C2C, is the biggest country music festival in Europe and is held annually across three days in London, Glasgow, and Dublin, with former headliners including Kacey Musgraves, Chris Stapleton, and Carrie Underwood.

Indeed, Miranda Lambert’s slot at C2C has come at such a remarkable time in her career that it seems to be more of a victory lap than a typical headlining job. Ten years after she hit her commercial peak with her fifth solo record, Platinum, which topped the Billboard 200, she is still an artist at the top of her game and then some. This much was evident from her London show on Friday 11th, her first in the UK since 2017, proving that she’s in better form than ever, having become all-the-more vocally adept, unafraid to experiment musically and effortlessly professional due to more than 20 years spent on the road. A threatening three-punch combination if ever there was one.

Lambert's recent performances have cemented her place as one of the greatest country stars of this generation@ARCountry

Over the course of her career, Miranda Lambert has racked up enough country hits and popular deep cuts to fill her setlist ten times over, but her London showing was slicked back and refined — as is standard. She didn’t abandon her older material, even throwing in a few fan-favourites from her first records alongside the enduring barn-burning classics ‘Kerosene’ and ‘Gunpowder and Lead’. Elsewhere, she leant heavily on her newer material — warning the country community that she is by no means on the way to becoming a legacy artist who churns out the same old greatest hits any time soon.

'Strange' is the latest single to be released from Lambert's upcoming album 'Palomino'Miranda Lambert

Deep cuts from her Grammy-winning 2019 album Wildcard, ‘Tequila Does’ and ‘Dark Bars ’, were notable crowd favourites, with the former rendered particularly poignant following the recent passing of her long-time guitarist and friend Scotty Wray. The ACM Song of the Decade ‘The House That Built Me ’ was the singalong torch-moment it always is, and her current top-five collaboration with Elle King, ‘Drunk (And I Don't Wanna Go Home)’, made for a solid dance-ready piece to close the show.


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Most popular of all was her decision to debut two new songs here in London. Palomino’s lead single ‘If I Was a Cowboy’ hit country radio at the tail-end of 2021, but had never been performed live, and she added an unreleased cut from her upcoming album to the mix in the form of ‘Actin’ Up’, a gritty track she described as being “about being a little shit”, and which she wrote during the pandemic. Both were met with great aplomb by the packed-out O2 Arena, which wasn’t necessarily a given, since the festival crowd is typically composed of casual listeners rather than diehard fans — a testimony to her ability to dominate the stage. Perhaps this was the catalyst behind her decision to add another new song, her latest single ‘Strange’, to the following night’s setlist in Glasgow.

Europe’s relationship with country music is a long-distance one at best, but with Miranda Lambert in the form she is at present, it didn’t seem to matter one bit throughout this long March weekend. I couldn’t be more excited for the upcoming April release of Palomino, and I can’t help but hope that — once she’s done with her newly-announced Vegas residency — she’ll schedule in some time of her own to return to the UK for what would be only her second-ever solo headlining tour over here. Trust me: we’re more than ready for more.