It’s a word Miranda Lambert uses to describe one of the themes of the latest song revealed from her upcoming seventh album. On Thursday, the Grammy-winning country star unveiled the album’s title, Wildcard, cover art, and release date, Nov. 1. She also dropped another taste of its sound with the melancholy yet optimistic ballad “Bluebird,” which you can listen to below. Co-written by Lambert, Luke Dick and Natalie Hemby, the song finds the 35-year-old Texas native doing the only sensible thing when life gives her lemons: putting them in her drink. She chatted with EW exclusively about the story behind the song.
“That was a definite Miranda line because that’s what I do,” she says with a chuckle about upping the alcohol content in the old adage about making lemonade. “You can’t stay in the moment that’s not good for you. If you keep missing, you have to just keep trying and you know, also,” she says with another laugh, “Cheetos help, so we’re good.”
“Bluebird” is among several songs that Lambert has written with Dick and Hemby, including the previously shared Wildcard track “Mess With My Head,” and the singer-songwriter says part of the inspiration for the tune was Dick’s fondness for a Charles Bukowski poem that references keeping a bluebird in your heart. “We kind of went off of that. And this song, something about it makes me feel hopeful. It’s not too cheery. It’s got this undertow of like “S—‘s gonna happen, but it’s gonna be okay.”
That concept of resilience serves as the song’s backbone as Lambert sings of digging deep for strength, forgiving when possible and forgetting as a matter of survival, and turning pages, in this case metaphorically, from 34 to 35. (It’s also where the Jay Joyce-produced album’s title comes from: “And if the house just keeps on winning/I got a wild card up my sleeve.”)
“I think that I do that kind of subconsciously,” says Lambert of the song’s artful twists on her feelings. “Because really it’s my truth, I’m just saying it a different way. Everything I’ve ever lived through is in my music. Thirty-four had some bumps. Every year has some bumps. The way that I say it is how I feel about it, and how I actually treat it. I don’t live in the moment that’s not good [for me]. Somehow, I just move forward.” She notes that another previously shared Wildcard track, “It All Comes Out in the Wash” touches on a similar concept. “There’s a common theme in this record and it’s like ‘When something gets bad, you can get out of it and move forward and be better.’ Feeling it in the moment is okay too, just taking it in and saying ‘I’m gonna learn from this, next.’ I’ve done that. At 35 so far, I’ve lived a lot of life and I’ve written it all down.”
Wildcard will be Lambert’s first release since her acclaimed 2016 double album The Weight of These Wings, which spawned the hits “Vice” and “Tin Man” and won the Academy of Country Music award for album of the year.
Following some one-off festival dates through the rest of the summer, Lambert will head out this fall for her Roadside Bars & Pink Guitars trek, which will feature an array of all female special guests on various dates including Maren Morris, Elle King, Tenille Townes, Ashley McBryde and Caylee Hammack as well appearances by the powerhouse supergroup trio Pistol Annies, featuring Lambert with pals Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe.
It is worth noting that this is not Lambert’s first time at the distaff rodeo, having featured all female special guests on previous iterations of the tour. “This is what I’ve been living out for my whole career,” she says. But she is heartened by the community spirit that continues to blossom throughout the genre and is excited to have a cut on the upcoming Highwomen project with Hemby, Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires, and Maren Morris.
“With the [Pistol] Annies and now there’s the Highwomen and I’m part of that,” says Lambert genuinely moved by this moment. “It just seems like a big family movement of all the women. It’s not exclusive. It’s like we’re all here doing the same thing with the same dream, we might as well support each other and write for each other and play shows together and all the things.”