Miranda Lambert rocked her “new ones” and her “oldies but goodies” when she played a few songs to celebrate her recently-announced Las Vegas residency and her upcoming album at an exclusive iHeartCountry LIVE show at her Nashville bar on Wednesday evening (April 6). Lambert took the stage at Casa Rosa as she gears up to release Palomino later this month.
The reigning Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year kicked off her intimate show with “Strange,” the first track from her upcoming album, and “If I Was A Cowboy,” one of her latest hits that's also included on the project. Lambert began writing Palomino at her farm in the spring of 2020, meeting with her cowriters in a wide open space outside of Nashville. She teamed up to co-produce it and co-write 14 of the 15 tracks. The beginning of the pandemic marked an unusual time that Lambert and others got to “write just to write,” rather than writing music for a specific project. The first two songs that they wrote on Palomino were “Tourist” and “Scenes,” and from there, the team began to chase the theme of a record about travel, taking the listener on a journey from one coast to another. Lambert hopes the finished project feels like “freedom,” and inspires listeners to “get in your car and drive. If you have a gypsy spirit, just go do it.”
Palomino includes “Actin’ Up,” “Strange,” “Geraldene,” “Wandering Spirit” — a Mick Jagger cover — and B-52’s collaboration “Music City Queen,” among other highlights. It’s set to release on April 29, in plenty of time for Lambert’s upcoming co-headlining tour with Little Big Town and for her residency to kick off this fall.
Lambert dished to host Amy Brown that her residency, Velvet Rodeo, is something she’s been thinking about for about a year. The residency got its name from a line in the first song on Palomino, “Actin’ Up.” Lambert explained, “I feel like I’ve built a career on being feminine and still keeping a bada** edge, and I think that’s important and I felt like Velvet Rodeo would encompass that. …(Velvet Rodeo) felt like my catalog as a whole, and it’s a line in the new song and it just felt very Vegas to me.”
The country hitmaker described feeling “nervous in a good way” to prep for the residency rather than hitting the road, as she has for about 20 years. Though it’ll be different than what she’s used to, Lambert assured fans that they can expect a unique, Vegas-worthy show: “I’m excited about the level of production we’re gonna be able to do because we don’t do that a lot… In Vegas it’s like, more sequins, more fire — don’t threaten me with a good time! I’m very excited about the ins and outs of the creative process of making these songs come to life a little more on stage.” She continued: “I feel like it’s gonna take the shows up a notch, just from a standpoint of, no one comes to Vegas to not have fun.”
No two shows will be exactly the same. When asked about whether she’ll stick with a setlist, Lambert laughed, “I like to have the option of changing my mind because I’m a woman.” She may opt to perform a ZZ Top cover one night, for example, or another classic rock cover. Lambert described her residency’s venue, Zappo’s Theater, as one that feels intimate: “It felt like a big honky tonk and that’s really my vibe… Fringe and rhinestones belong there, so I feel like I’ll be at home (in Las Vegas).”
Not only is Lambert “the queen of modern country,” Brown noted, but she pursues her passion for helping animals through the Mutt Nation Foundation, which the country artist founded with her mom in 2009 to help find safe and happy homes for dogs. To combine her passions, one dollar from every residency ticket purchased will go to Mutt Nation.
“Any time I can combine my two passions, music and mutts, it’s a blessing,” Lambert said. “We get to sing country music for a living, which is the best job in the world. But I always try to use the platform that I’ve built for good, and for my heart, it’s animals. So, the fact that we can celebrate country music and come together and have a drink and a great night and also help some innocent animals that need our help is a really cool thing to be able to do.”