Miranda Lambert thrives on playing for big crowds

Good news keeps coming Miranda Lambert’s way. Earlier this month, she got her fifth No. 1 song with “Mama’s Broken Heart.”

“It never gets old knowing that people enjoy my music,” the singer tweeted about the song reaching the top of the country singles chart.

“Mama’s Broken Heart” is the fourth hit single from Four The Record, Lambert’s fourth album. It follows previous hits from the album “Over You,” “Baggage Claim” and “Fastest Girl In Town.”

Lambert’s latest No. 1 song came just weeks after her four wins at April’s ACM Awards. Including her fourth Female Vocalist of the Year award, that’s more than any other artist this year.

Pistol Annies, a trio featuring Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley, released its second album this month, Annie Up. It debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, nearly doubling opening week sales for the group’s gold-record debut, 2011’s Hell on Heels.

Among the big names at Bayou Country Superfest this year, Lambert thrives on big crowds of the kind that attend Superfest in Tiger Stadium.

“It’s not every day you play for a crowd that big,” she said. “Of course, it’s really awesome. There’s such energy when there are so many people. It really gives you this fuel. But I love small crowds, too. It’s cool to have small crowds here and there and then a huge crowd like that.”

With Four The Record still yielding hit singles and a new Pistol Annies album just out, Lambert said that this month will be her first chance to focus upon her fifth solo album.

“The good thing is I don’t feel like I’m in a rush,” she said. “I still love Four The Record and now we have this amazing Pistol Annies record.”

Proven success story though Lambert is, she always feels the pressure to produce more hit singles and albums. Beyond pre-production jitters, there’s pre-release anxiety, especially during debut weeks.

“I get so nervous, anticipating it all, and wondering what’s gonna happen,” Lambert said. “After you have these amazing moments it’s hard not to hold yourself to that standard. You have to do it again. People are expecting it. It’s definitely nerve wracking.”

Nonetheless, Lambert is thrilled about the new Pistol Annies album.

“The music comes so easily to us,” she said. “And it’s so much fun and such a departure from what I do every day with my solo career.”

Unified by a theme, Annie Up is a collection of songs that can be heard as a whole.

“Buying one song through iTunes is great, but having an entire album, like a work of art, is really cool,” Lambert said. “Our ‘Watch out guys, here we are’ songs, we’ve got some of those on there, too, but this is more of a celebration of women.”

The trio also brings its various influences to the album.

“Ashley (Monroe) is from Tennessee, so she’s got that little bit of Dolly (Parton) sound,” Lambert said. “Angaleena (Presley) is from Kentucky and really into bluegrass and mountain music. I’m a Texas girl, so I’ve got Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings and Guy Clark and all that.”

Beyond Nelson, Jennings, Merle Haggard and the many great male country acts, Lambert looks up to such female predecessors as Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and Patty Loveless.

Four The Record features a custom-made duet for Loveless, “Dear Diamond.”

“I wrote a song that sounds like Patty for Patty to sing,” Lambert said. “I sent it to her and she recorded it. I was with the Annies on the bus when I first heard the song with her vocals on it. When I played it we all started crying. It’s like magic when you get to sing with one of your heroines.”