By Kay West
Updated November 11, 2009 12:00 PM

Raised in Texas by private investigator parents, Miranda Lambert was schooled early in covert operations—and the art of big hair: “Mom taught me to tease it up like a cloud,” Lambert laughs. The star, 25, grew up to be best pals with her mama, Bev, who runs her fan club and joins her on the road a week each month. The two dish to PEOPLE COUNTRY’s Kay West:

Bev, how did having kids fit into your PI work?

Bev: Children were not on the agenda. But when we got our surprise, we were extremely excited.

Miranda: I did my first job with her when I was 4.

Bev: She’s always been great at undercover.

Miranda: My friends thought it was so exciting, but it was usually sitting in the car doing schoolwork while my parents did surveillance.

Were you two close when Miranda was little?

Miranda: I cried every day of first grade because I was away from my parents.

Bev: She was very much…rooted at home.

Miranda: I still am.

Bev: You could not be any closer than we were. Until I started managing her.

Miranda: We fought nonstop.

Bev: She’d say, “I want you to go back to being my mom!” It was a tough time.

As BFFs, what do you love doing together?

Miranda: We were in New York City recently, and we went to get mani-pedis.

Bev: But first we went next door and got a six-pack of beer to bring to the salon!

So what’s the PI’s take on Miranda’s boyfriend, Blake Shelton?

Bev: Blake has brought out the very best in my daughter. He brings out things that I had not seen before, like a really intriguing sense of humor.

Miranda: That’s true. I was lacking that.

Bev: For that reason alone, I would love him to death. But I love him to death anyway.