FARGO — Since her 2005 debut, Miranda Lambert has become one of the undisputed queens of country music.
With her seventh studio album, “Wildcard,” the singer-songwriter shows she’s still got a trick or two up her sleeve.
The album doesn’t come out until Nov. 1, but Lambert will play a handful of new material when she brings her "Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars" tour to the Fargodome on Thursday night, Oct. 17. The all-female tour includes Lambert’s side project, Pistol Annies, as well as Elle King and Ashley McBryde.
(Regional music fans may also recognize Hebron, N.D., singer Gwen Sebastian as one of Lambert's backup singers.)
The singer talked with The Forum from the road last week about inspirations for the new album and tour.
You’ve been spending more time in New York. What influence did the city have on the new album?
I’m a small-town Texas girl, so spending time in a big city like, that was eye-opening. Just the art in the city, from the street art and graffiti to walking into a random rock club and hearing a band. If you’re open to creativity and in that city, it will definitely creep in. I live in Nashville, which I love, but the hustle and bustle keeps your mind going.
People know you as a country artist, but you’ve been opening shows with the new song “Locomotive,” which is more of a rocker.
I always have one or two of those on a record. I’m definitely a country girl, through and through, but I’ve got this rock ‘n’ roll side to me. I love to do loud and when I was writing this record, I was thinking what I wanted in my show to be loud. "Locomotive" turned out to be a staple in my show.
Another new single is a cover of Elvin Bishop’s “Fooled Around and Fell in Love,” which opens with the line, “I must have been through about a million girls.” Did you think about changing the lyrics from “girls” to “boys”?
It’s not on the record but we cut it as a promotion for the tour, which is all girls, so we sing it together. I kind of took from the Emmylou Harris school. She’s covered a lot of men’s songs in her career and never changed the words. I guess it touched her in the way it was originally sang. If it’s good enough for Emmylou, it’s good enough for me.
Why was it important for this tour to be all women?
When it came time to talk about who I wanted on the road, the girls were the ones I was listening to, the ones inspiring me. I didn’t really have a female mentor growing up because there wasn’t a lot of girls on tour, so I toured with men and it was great. I learned the ropes, but I didn’t have that female perspective. So I’m hoping where I’ve gotten in my career, and Carrie Underwood is doing the same thing, to be that person we didn’t have for these younger female artists.
Elle King may come from more of a rock background, but you’ve had her on the road before. How did you become friends?
Honestly, I’m just a fan. I heard her music and thought she was amazing. I’ve got to know her better being on the road and she’s just the coolest chick.
You had a recent Instagram post supporting Carrie Underwood for Entertainer of the Year in the upcoming Country Music Association Awards and said, “Currently being on tour with all female artists, I’ve been thinking a lot about all the work that goes into what we do. The most amazing job in the world. But it ain’t for the faint of heart.” What did you mean by that?
To get here, you really have to put in a lot of time. It’s a lot of time gone from the people you love. It’s a lot of energy output and sometimes you don’t get anything back. Sometimes you don’t get time to recharge. Everyone in that category of Entertainer of the Year has to make that sacrifice, so I’m not taking that away from them, but you add that on top of being a mom and splitting your time between being a rock star and having children and the amount of makeup and hair and all of the things that are extras that we have to deal with. You have to really love it and want it to make it worth it.
Does the country music industry treat male and female artists the same way?
I think it’s getting better. There was a weird gap there for the last couple of years. I don’t know what happened but I feel like there’s a shift now and it’s coming back to a better balance.
There’s another all-female country act making news, The Highwomen. What do you think of them?
I think they’re great. I have a girl band called the Pistol Annies and we’ve been together for nine years, so I understand wanting to band together as sisters. I’m proud of them.
How often do you get to tour with The Pistol Annies?
We hardly do because one just had a baby and the other had a baby two years ago. It’s just whenever we have time.
If you go
What: Miranda Lambert, Elle King, Pistol Annies and Ashley McBryde
When: Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; music at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17
Where: The Fargodome, 1800 N. University Drive
Info: Tickets range from $37.75 to $92.75; http://fargodome.com