Pop & Hiss

Stagecoach 2015: Miranda Lambert has gone from opener to headliner

At Stagecoach, Miranda Lambert, who was at the inaugural event, calls festivals kickstarters for "baby acts."

Miranda Lambert ducked into a borrowed Star Wagons trailer quickly Saturday, a few hours before she would take the Mane stage as the headliner of Saturday's second day of the 2015 Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio.

She'd been hustling from one radio station interview to the next, shortly after hightailing it to the festival with hubby Blake Shelton from L.A., after he'd wrapped this week's duties in his role as one of the celebrity team coaches on NBC's reality singing competition "The Voice."

"I'm just going to chill for a bit," said the Texas singer and songwriter who last weekend took an unprecedented sixth consecutive award for female vocalist of the year from the Academy of Country Music.

She's riding high now as one of country's marquee powerhouses and half of country's reigning power couple of the moment. But it wasn't so long ago — eight years — that hers was just one of many names printed in small type on the program for the inaugural Stagecoach festival when it was spun off as a country cousing to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

"Oh, yeah," she said. "I played in the 12 o'clock noon slot, and now we're finally playing after dark."

This is Lambert's fourth time playing Stagecoach, and in that time she's traveled the full journey from little-known opening act to festival headliner.

"Festivals are great for that," she said. "They really help baby acts get their careers going."

She also spoke excitedly of catching a midday set by Colorado singer-songwriter-guitarist Clate Dunn.

"I hadn't seen her before — but I'm a fan now," she said. "You don't see that many women who get up there and really bash a guitar and play some real rock 'n' roll country."

Any downside to continuing to play festivals now that she's at the top of her country game?

"Well," she said sheepishly. "You go on so late!" she said of her scheduled 10:15 p.m. start time. "The older I get, the more I start thinking, 'Couldn't we back it up an hour?'"

Wish granted — to her husband anyway. Shelton's performance tonight is scheduled for 9:15 to help festivalgoers head back to their lives and another work week.

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