NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — When she was a teenager, Miranda Lambert listened at the dinner table while her grandmother, her mother and their friends swapped gossip, life lessons and stories from East Texas.
Those overheard conversations over plates of enchiladas and banana pudding became inspiration for Lambert’s Grammy-winning musical career, teaching her the art of storytelling and entertaining at the same time.
“Some of my first songs were written about some of the stories that they were going through,” Lambert said. “I hadn’t lived it myself yet, but I really absorbed that.”
After nearly two decades in country music and at the height of her career as one of the most award-winning country artists, Lambert is dishing on those recipes — and the stories behind them — from her family and friends in a book called “Y’All Eat Yet? Welcome to the Pretty B(asterisk)tchin’ Kitchen.”
“It’s really important to surround yourself with people who celebrate the good times and who hold you up through the bad times,” said “The House That Built Me” singer. “That’s what this whole book is about.”
The book, out now on HarperCollins imprint Dey Street Books, is equal parts Lambert’s family memoir, a guide to Texas-style entertaining and a church potluck cookbook.
Get to know Lambert’s grandma “Nonny” and her mom “Bev” and all their colorful female friends through the recipes they’ve swapped and shared: the famous meatloaf that often leads to wedding bells, the whiskey cupcakes and the potini bar (mashed potatoes in a martini glass with all the toppings.) She also teaches the tricks to glamping in her Airstream travel trailer and tubing down the Guadalupe River and her dad offers a primer on seasoning a cast iron pan to perfection.
“Life on the road is tough, and so it makes it that much more special when you get to have a home-cooked meal,” Lambert said. “It’s such a triggering memory. It’s like a perfume or a song.”
Lambert has a lot to celebrate right now as she heads into the Academy of Country Music Awards on May 11 as the reigning entertainer of the year. She’s already the most awarded artist in ACM history and she’s up for the top prize again, as well as breaking another record with her 17th female artist of the year nomination.
“I didn’t really get celebrate with everybody when I won last year, so this will be like, ‘Yay, hurrah! Who’s going to get it next?’” Lambert said of the awards show, which will be held in Frisco, Texas, this year. “I’m really excited that it’s in Texas and I’m just continually thankful for this community and the country music family that has lifted me up all these years and still votes for my records and recognizes my work.”
She’s also now a highly sought-after free agent after leaving her longtime label home Sony Music Nashville this spring. She was just 19 when she signed with the record label and debuted her first Sony record “Kerosene” in 2005.
“It’s a very different landscape from when I started,” Lambert said but noted that she’s already got some collaborations in the works.
“It feels really good to be free and just sort of take a step back and a deep breath and let the creativity lead the decisions,” Lambert said of her future musical plans.
Follow Kristin M. Hall at https://twitter.com/kmhall