Miranda Lambert has struck a delicate balance: Together with kindred artists like Jamey Johnson, she's made country music palatable once again to the sanctimonious scads of big-city, Tea Party-loathing dissenters, infusing the genre with a newfound sense of authenticity missing since the days of her legendary outlaw forefathers. At the same time, she's managed to write earnest, heartfelt, everyman ballads like "The House That Built Me," as well as gritty, angst-filled anthems of empowerment like "Gunpowder and Lead" and "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" that resonate with rank-and-file fans of modern country, affording her truckloads of crossover appeal and street cred — not to mention a serious leg up on her contemporaries.
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