A wintry mix of snow and ice closed schools and businesses and wreaked havoc on roads in Nashville on Wednesday, but it couldn’t stop Miranda Lambert fans from coming to see her.
Filling downtown’s City Winery to capacity for an unplugged performance with her talented besties: Ashley Monroe and songwriters Nicolle Galyon and Shane McAnally, Lambert showed her appreciation for their efforts.
“Thank you so much for coming out tonight,” Lambert said as she settled onto one of five stools set in a semi-circle on the stage. “I’m Miranda, this is Shane, Ashley, Nicolle and my guitar player Scotty Wray. We’re kind of plugged in and we have a plan, but we’re drinking so we’ll probably mess it up. I’ll go first.”
Wearing a thigh-length black leather jacket, thigh-high black suede boots, sassy bobbed hair and red lips that could be seen all the way to the back of the big room, Lambert, 32, kicked off the acoustic show with her hit “Heart Like Mine.”
Explaining the writer-in-the-round set-up, Lambert told the crowd, “So this is how we do it when we write together, though tonight is better hair, more make-up, fancier clothes and more expensive wine.”
“A month or so ago I asked my friends, ‘Do you want to play City Winery with me?’ What they heard was wine, and they were excited it wasn’t going to be box wine. But you know how it is some nights. You finish the good wine and then move to the box. You start expensive and when you run out of that, you go cheap. I’m not talking about husbands, I swear.” The room laughed and one fan in the SRO section whispered to another, “She looks a lot sexier since the divorce.” (Lambert and Blake Shelton confirmed their split in July; she is currently dating fellow musician Anderson East.)
Moving around the circle, the writers took turns singing their hits or the hits they wrote for other artists. “This is my big fat Jason Aldean hit,” Monroe joked before doing a stripped-down version of “The Truth.”
Going next, McAnally noted, “What sucks for me is going after Ashley and before Miranda. So many of our friends are here tonight. The dressing room was like a clown car of celebrities.”
Among them was Charles Kelley, who joined Galyon to sing her very first cut as a writer, “It Ain’t Pretty” from Lady Antebellum‘s album Golden. “I call this the song that got away,” Kelley said. “We should have made it a single.” Galyon shot back, “It’s not too late!”
Lambert, in a sharing mood, gave up a turn to “a new girl from East Texas. I asked her to come out and sing a song for us.” Maren Morris, whose debut single “My Church” is climbing the charts, debuted another tune, “I Wish I Was.”
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On her next turn, Lambert performed a song written by Wray that hit a personal note for both of them.
“So this song, I don’t know if I can do it without crying,” she said, pausing a second before explaining. “Scotty Wray has been with me since I was 17. For a long time he was my band. We have been through everything together, good and bad. We both went through a really s—ty 2015 and we have the tattoos to prove it. He wrote a song a long time ago called ‘Scars.’ I never felt like I could sing it ’til now.”
The two-hour show finished on a much lighter note, with an all-stage performance of “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool” under an enormous projected photo of a very young McAnally with the song’s original hit maker, Barbara Mandrell. “Never text a photo to Miranda Lambert that you don’t want the world to see!” the songwriter warned.