Over the years, Miranda Lambert has proved that she’s a top-tier songwriter. She wrote or co-wrote songs like “Dead Flowers”, “Bluebird”, “Tin Man”, and several more. At this point, one could almost say that Lambert makes it look easy. However, that’s definitely not the case. At times, she has to force the lyrics from her pen.
After playing this year’s Windy City Smokeout, Miranda Lambert sat down with Vulture to talk about her career and what’s coming next. During that conversation, she revealed that the songs she writes solo are always the hardest. Lambert pointed to the pandemic heartbreaker “They’ve Closed Down the Honky Tonks” as an example of that.
Miranda Lambert on the Hardest Songs to Write
Vulture asked which of her songs was the hardest to write. “Anything written by yourself is not as fun as drinking with a bunch of friends and writing songs because it’s all you,” Miranda Lambert said. “There’s nobody to blame it on, there’s nowhere to run.”
Miranda Lambert went on to give an example of a recent track that she struggled to write. She said that “They’ve Closed Down the Honky Tonks” was a battle. “I haven’t recorded it, I just put out an acoustic version of it. I was writing it in the middle of the lockdown,” she revealed.
About writing the song, she said, “I cleaned off my tour bus. That was the only other time I’ve ever cleaned off my tour bust besides today,” Lambert recalled. At the time of the interview, she was preparing for her Las Vegas residency. Cleaning off her tour bus made the pandemic feel that much more real for Miranda Lambert.
“Writing that song, I was thinking of all my friends. It was just a reality I never thought I would be living in. [The song] wasn’t about heartbreak from a man or my fiery stuff. It was like, ‘I don’t have a gig anymore. There’s no music. This is crazy,’” Miranda Lambert said. She added that the fact that she was “feeling every line” of the song made it harder to write.
A Fight with Herself
Miranda Lambert revealed that she hadn’t written anything during the pandemic before that. “It was one of those things where I’m having a standoff with my guitar. I’m like, ‘Are we going to do this again, or what’s happening?’” she recalled. Lambert said that she decided it needed to be done. So, she took her guitar to the bathroom to get to work.
“I have a tub area with a chair and a fireplace at my farm and my husband and I were living there. I was like, ‘Don’t come in here. I’m going to have a fight with myself and see if I can write this song.’ I didn’t even want to write it because that made it more real to me. But, I came out and played it for him an hour later,” Lambert recalled. “It went down pretty fast because I was living in it.”