Miranda Lambert May Be in a ‘Hallmark Marriage,’ But She Can Still Write ‘Good’ Sad Songs
During a conversation with CBS Sunday Morning's Lee Cowan, Miranda Lambert opens up about her new album, Palomino, detailed the evolution of her career date and went into some depth about her creative process — and how her personal love stories fit into it.
"Every time I go to make a record or write a new song, I wanna try to write a better song than I wrote last time, but also stay really true to the truth," she reflects, "because that's how I got here."
Lambert's always written true to life, even when it's painful: Her 2016 double album, The Weight of These Wings, came a year after her highly publicized divorce from fellow superstar Blake Shelton, containing standout heartbreak tracks like "Vice" and the ACM Awards Song of the Year-winning "Tin Man."
In her latest interview, Lambert says that during that difficult time in her personal life — and the overwhelming public attention she received — songwriting served as a source of comfort.
"I wasn't prepared for that. Well, I don't think anyone is. And it's not nice sometimes," she admits, "But I think you gotta take it with a grain of salt, and know that I'm a singer-songwriter, so luckily, I can tell my whole truth. I will not lie in my music."
That authenticity has remained a cornerstone of Lambert's musical identity into happier times. In 2019, the singer surprised fans by announcing that she'd gotten married to an NYPD officer named Brendan McLoughlin. She'd kept the relationship out of the public eye until after their wedding. Lambert chronicled her experience of finding love again in her 2020 hit "Settling Down," and McLoughlin even co-starred with her in the song's music video.
"It's like some kind of Hallmark movie or something," Lambert says with a laugh, reflecting on her marriage. "This redneck from Texas meets this beautiful NYPD officer on the street in New York. But it actually happened that way."
Featuring McLoughlin in the music video was "a beautiful moment to share with my husband," the singer continues, adding that she doesn't feel the need to suffer for her art, despite the fact that some of her biggest career hits are breakup songs.
"Sometimes artists live in darkness and use it for their art, or whatever," she says. "You don't have to be tortured to be good. Like, you can write a sad song and not have to live every sad song you ever write. You know, it's an impossible way to live, and to be."
As for McLoughlin's perspective on being married to a country music household name? "He loves it," Miranda says, speaking of her husband's reaction to starring in her video and appearing with her on red carpets and at events.
"He's such a ham. I mean, he's like, white teeth, blue eyes, ding! If there's a camera, he'll jump right in front it," she continues. "He's just a very extroverted, outgoing person."
Lambert proves her point on her newest album, Palomino, which is one of her most diverse and varied projects to date. The album features a blend of love songs and lonesome heartbreak anthems, but perhaps the most audio time goes to character-driven travelogues, inspired in part by how much the singer missed travel and meeting new people during the COVID-19 pandemic.