Why Miranda Lambert Sings as a Male Character in ‘If I Was a Cowboy’

Country artist Miranda Lambert released her acclaimed album Palomino on April 29, 2022. At the 2023 Grammy Awards, Palomino earned a nomination for Best Country Album. In an interview with Music Connection, Miranda Lambert discussed some of her creative choices behind the making of songs on Palomino.

Miranda Lambert wears a bright blue dress on stage
Miranda Lambert | John Shearer/Getty Images for Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert’s album ‘Palomino’ is ‘not a concept’ album

Palomino is Lambert’s ninth studio album, and it features multiple character-driven stories. In an interview with Music Connection, Lambert explained how Palomino was created.

“I started writing the songs in 2020. We spent a lot of time developing these characters and these stories. It’s not a concept record, but it’s definitely got a thread,” Lambert said.

She continued, “I spent a lot of my writing career writing about personal experiences, or those of people close to me, and this is one that was like ‘Let’s go out of ourselves and find some cool places and some cool people that we can make up.’”

Miranda Lambert sings ‘as a male character’ in the song ‘If I Was Cowboy’

“If I Was a Cowboy” is a pre-release single for Palomino, and Lambert released the song in 2021. While speaking with Music Connection, Lambert explained why she chose to sing “as a male character” in the song.

“I sing as a male character in ‘If I Were a Cowboy.’ I got that from Emmylou Harris, who would never change the genders. And John Prine with ‘Angel From Montgomery,’ when he assumed the character of an old woman,” Lambert shared.

The country singer continued, “I love that it doesn’t have to change. Once I heard Emmy do it, I thought I could change the rules. Emmylou’s is a career that I have longed for. I said from day one, ‘I want to be a singer-songwriter, and I want to have a long career and to make a mark on country music.'”

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In September, Lambert started her Las Vegas residency, Miranda Lambert: Velvet Rodeo The Las Vegas Residency.

According to Lambert, one of the most important moments in the Las Vegas show is her performance of “Carousel” from Palomino.

“It’s a huge moment in the show. It’s not stripped down, but it’s more dramatic because of lighting and production. Sometimes it’s hard to get through. Being a writer on it, I’m still so in it and so wrapped up in the story every time I sing it. And it’s heartbreaking. Singing it every night, I want to make sure that I’m getting the story across,” Lambert told Music Connection.

She continued, “I sing as close to the mic as I can, and we use the tricks of the trade with the lighting and everything. That’s something I appreciate about the Las Vegas setting. You can highlight lyrics more because you’re indoors and it’s controlled. For a song like that, it’s really cool to set it up and make the production a part of the story.”