In her most successful single to date, ‘Gunpowder and Lead,’ Lambert declared that some little girls are made less of sugar and spice than more combustible substances. And the title track of her 2005 platinum debut, Kerosene, established her in the country music firmament as a figuratively and maybe even literally incendiary personality.
Lambert is an artist, of many complementary qualities that only appear on the surface to be contradictions. You can even see it in some of the magazine covers she’s appeared on. She was recently the focus of her first cover story in Country Weekly, after previously fronting an issue of No Depression, a publication usually devoted only to non-mainstream, critically acclaimed, alt-country singer-songwriters. People named her one of 2009’s ‘100 Most Beautiful People’… just a year after Esquire named her ‘Terrifying Woman of the Year.’
That may have come as a surprise a few years ago to anyone who expected a certain acquiescence out of a former reality show contestant. Lambert came in third in the first season of Nashville Star, which certainly set up preconceptions about just what kind of artist, she’d turn out to be.
Her 2005 freshman effort, Kerosene, put her in an exclusive club, as one of only seven artists in the history of SoundScan to come out of the box at No. 1 on the country sales chart with a debut album. It was named one of the year’s 10 best albums by the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and CMT.com, among many others. She picked up key nominations for the CMAs, Grammys, CMT Awards, and other honors, beating fellow newcomers Taylor Swift and Kellie Pickler to be named as the ACMs’ top new female vocalist.
In 2007, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend also debuted at No. 1 on the country chart. After a slew of top 20 singles, the sophomore album generated her first top 10 hit, ‘Gunpowder and Lead.’ Crazy Ex-Girlfriend won the coveted album of the year trophy at the 2008 Academy of Country Music Awards.