"I put a bullet in my radio/ something just hit me funny, I don't know/ just pulled the trigger going down the road/ you slammed the door and knocked me off the wire." - Maintain The Pain - Miranda Lambert.

When Miranda Lambert kicked off her fourth album with White Liar - a song about cheating and revenge - she was shooting from the family hip.

Her guitarist dad Rick once nailed bad dudes in former careers as a Dallas undercover narcotics cop and private detective.

Although the Texan revels in public persona as a feisty fraulein she keeps her powder dry until she puts a bullet in her car radio in Maintain The Pain.

She also ignites rage in Canadian Fred Eaglesmith's Time To Get A Gun and Sin For A Sin - penned with long time Oklahoma partner Blake Shelton.

But the singer is not a bucolic Belle Star hell-bent on shooting out lovers' lights.

At 25 the singer is sharp enough to inject her songs with equal doses of small town charm, big city swagger and plentiful pathos.

The character in Only Prettier - one of four collaborations with Natalie Hemby - spreads her rural roughage from behind a mask and tills faded love with a floral metaphor in Dead Flowers.

The latter song exploits the imagery of expired Christmas lights and Valentine's Day flowers.

It's a stark contrast to male addiction to love in Me And Your Cigarettes - penned with Shelton and prolific songsmith Ashley Monroe, occasional collaborator with fellow fireball Catherine Britt.

The hapless male's mama warns him he is a slave to his female partner just like his nicotine crutch.


"Some times I wished I lived in an Airstream/ homemade curtains, lived just like a gypsy/ break a heart, roll out of town/ cause gypsies never get tied down." - Airstream Song - Miranda Lambert-Natalie Hemby.

Lambert and producers Frank Liddell and Mike Wrucke employ strategic sequencing mid-way through the 15-song album.

They pair the wanderlust of Airstream Song with the sweet shelter of the loving arms of her character's partner in Makin' Plans.

Then a trifecta of covers - Time To Get A Gun, Julie Miller's demonic Somewhere Trouble Don't Go and narcotic nostalgia of returning to the embryonic home in The House That Built Me by seasoned songsmiths Tom Douglas and Allan Shamblin.

One suspects that's a future single, replete with heart wrenching video clip.

Now back to sequencing.

Love Song - penned with Shelton and Lady Antebellum alumni Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley - finds the female lead a considerate partner.

But the tattooed temptress in Heart Like Mine - a sibling perhaps to the character in Only Prettier - is a good old girl with paternal love rising above fondness for booze.

Sure, the character's brother has the family intellect but the patriarch practices his own brand of Christianity with equal love for both offspring.

"I heard Jesus, he drank wine/ and I'd bet we'd get on just fine."


"I remember vividly what that vision did to me/ you laying with her in our bed/ love can be a tragedy when you do what you did to me/ all I'm seeing now is red." - Sin For A Sin - Miranda Lambert-Blake Shelton.

Sin For A Sin is the sibling of White Liar where revenge is the chosen antidote.

But hang on - the sinned against reaches for another Christianity clutch before the temptation of summary justice.

Guns and knives are holstered as the victim seeks another bloodless option.

"Bible told me to forgive all those who trespass against/ tread their feet on sacred ground/ bad things come with consequence/ what feels good hurts in the end."

So Lambert's character has second thoughts before pulling the trigger for a sweet segue into John Prine's whimsical That's The Way That The World Goes Around.

Virginia Bluebell - a positive paean about rising above self doubt - is a fitting finale for a disc that sprouts on the vine.

Lambert now has the chart clout to attract harmony singers diverse as Shelton, Buddy Miller, Randy Scruggs, Ashley Monroe, Charles Kelley and Chris Stapleton of The Steeldrivers.

But who will accompany her here on her belated tour - maybe in 2011?

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