Miranda Lambert On Writing Sad Country Songs: “You Don’t Have To Be Tortured To Be Good”

Miranda Lambert country music

I haven’t stopped listening to Miranda Lambert’s new record, Palomino, since it was released on Friday.

Her goal was to take the listener on a journey through the tracklist, and she certainly delivered that and more on her 8th studio album, introducing the listener to plenty of people and places that we’ve all known or been to at one time or another.

And this weekend, she sat down with Lee Cowan for a feature on CBS Sunday Morning to talk about the new record, life during the pandemic, and how it inspired such a free-spirited album.

She says that she was able to do it all because she’s so at peace with herself at this point in her career:

“I’ve learned a lot about myself. I think at some point, you just start to settle into who you are. I think that’s why you feel that peace coming from me, ‘cause I feel at peace with myself.”

But that doesn’t mean she can’t still write a damn good country heartbreaker.

She told Lee that you don’t have to live in a constant state of darkness for the sake of “art”… you can still capture all of those feelings and make incredible music without actually being sad all of the time.

Like she mentions in her explanation, it’s really an impossible way to live:

“Sometimes artists live in darkness and use it for their art or whatever. You don’t have to be tortured to be good.

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.”

She viewed the time off during the COVID pandemic as a chance to get out and really see the world, because as most musicians will tell you, they’ve been a lot of places without truly experiencing them:

“I’ve been touring now since I was 17, and I have been everywhere and seen nothing. So I was like, this is my one chance to, like, breathe and not feel like I need to be doing something with music all the time.”

But of course, she ended up with a whopping three records as a result in The Marfa Tapes, Hell of a Holiday, and the aforementioned Palomino:

“Then, of course, I wrote three records.”

Her take on writing sad country songs is best evidenced on “Carousel,” which is easily one of my top songs on this album.

It finds two circus performers, Elaina and Harlan Giovanni, missing each other more often than they should, both frequently wondering “what if,” even though they know it was never meant to be.

It’s Miranda at her absolute best, and one of the greatest songs in her entire catalog of incredible music:

You can check out her entire interview here, which was filmed at her bar on Broadway in Nashville, Casa Rosa:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock