June 22, 2012
By Jeff Jones
Miranda Lambert - Beaumont, TX
Catchin' Up With Country Sweetheart On Her Texas Tour
An Exclusive Interview with Country Singer Miranda Lambert and Father, Rick Lambert
Miranda Lambert recently hosted her annual Cause for the Paws benefit concert for her MuttNation Foundation at the Ford Arena in Beaumont, Texas. All the money raised at the event went toward helping homeless and neglected animals. Special guests Wade Bowen and the Josh Abbott Band also made appearances at Ford Park in Beaumont, Texas. An eBay auction also took place to raise money, featuring signed items from Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Toby Keith, Selena Gomez, Scarlett Johansson and more.
MuttNation was inspired by Lambert's love for animals. The foundation, which her mother runs, has raised money across the country to aid organizations and local municipalities build animal shelters that provide better care, increase pet adoption and encourage responsible pet ownership. The association also aids with rehabilitation of sick or un-socialized animals, funds spay / neuter programs, reduce / eliminate euthanasia of healthy animals and trains shelter dogs for therapy programs, assistance for wounded military.
Over the years, says Bev Lambert, director of MuttNation, they have donated over $700,000 to abused, neglected or unwanted animals. The foundation recently entered into an agreement with Red Star Emergency Relief Service. The group assists in disaster relief for animals displaced or abandoned due to natural disasters. It also helps rebuild animal shelters that were damaged in natural disasters. The relief service also retrains military animals to provide service to wounded soldiers coming home from war.
Miranda's father, Rick Lambert, attended the Cause of Paws benefit in Beaumont to support his wife and daughter. A former private investigator, musician and police officer, he now spends his time assisting his wife in running their daughter's foundation.
JAM: From what I've read, Miranda didn't really take to the guitar until she was about 16. When did you notice a change in her attitude not only toward the instrument, but music itself?
Rick Lambert - I bought my daughter a guitar when she was about 14, but she wasn't serious about it. Since we always had music around the house, there was always an interest there. When she turned 16 however, she sat down with her mother and I one night and said she wanted to pursue as a career. Since that's what she wanted to do, her mom and I basically put everything we had into her and backed her dreams 110 percent. We kind of put everything on the back burner to support and help her career.
JAM: You and your wife were private investigators, correct?
Yes we were. We kind of put our business on hold when Miranda explained to us what she wanted to do. Our philosophy was this. When a 16-year old finds a focus on something they want to do with their life, you have to go with it. She was our daughter and we knew she was talented. We got behind her and ran with it. We're still running to this day. I am so proud of her. Miranda has a great head on her shoulders. I've talked with some of her advisors and they tell me they are amazed at how focused she is on projects. They also commend her for having a great sense when it comes to the business. She knows what she wants to do and how to get it done.
JAM: Three years after Miranda sat her parents down and told you what she wanted to do with her life, she's a finalist in the Nashville Star competition, eventually finishing third.
The Nashville Star competition was certainly the game changer for Miranda. After her appearance on the show, she signed a record deal with Sony. I mean it happened really fast. But Miranda handled the whirlwind of activity around her well. Nashville Star set the wheels in motion, but Miranda knew what she wanted and went after it.
JAM: Miranda toured the Dallas / Ft. Worth quite a bit in her early days. I remember one time driving through a heavy rainstorm one night in Ft. Worth to catch her show at the Horseman Club.
Yes, I remember those days, and I remember that show. Back then, I was the tour manager, the bus driver, the guitar tech, the roadie, the merch guy and everything else that popped up during a show that had to be handled. Today, I'm back to just being 'Daddy', and I'm damn proud of it too!
JAM: I guess this means you aren't on call whenever something goes wrong anymore. Do you have anything to do with her business these days?
I'm here if she wants to talk to me about something, but no, not really to answer your question. I don't have anything to do with her business. Her mother and I do make it to shows here and there. I'm here tonight to support her MuttNation Foundation. It means a lot to Miranda, so we're here to help out and support the cause. I rode in with her last night on the Pistol Annie's tour bus.
JAM: Rode in it, or drove it in?
(Laughing) I rode.
JAM: As the breaks starting going Miranda's way, and you saw a real career for her in music developing, what kind of advice did you give your daughter about the path she had chosen?
We had a conversation right before she had that first meeting with her now record label. I told Miranda to go in to that room and tell them how it was going to be. She's a Texas girl and knew exactly what type of artist she wanted to be. I told her it was important to let them know who she is, not something the label or Nashville wanted to mold her in to. Well, all I can say is they have been enjoying the fruits of that conversation ever since.
JAM: Miranda, you moved the benefit from Lindale to Beaumont. What was behind that decision?
Miranda Lambert - Well, the thing is this event has steadily grown over the years to the point we needed a larger venue. Doing the benefit in Beaumont allowed us to keep the event in Texas.
JAM: MuttNation serves many needs. How do you decide where the money goes, who gets it and how it is allocated?
Well, it's really just four girls doing this. What we do is discuss stories that are sent in to us by email or letters. Basically, shelters write in to us and say, 'Here's our situation, can you help.' We will then sit down and discuss their problem. Once we decide what it is they need, we'll send what we think is an appropriate amount needed to help their situation out.
JAM: Miranda, I read your foundation is actively looking at ways to help animal shelters located in disaster areas rebuild. Is that a major concern for you?
Oh, definitely it is. That's a very big area of need we have focused on. We recently teamed up with a group called Red Star Foundation. They are a different type of foundation, sort of a bigger conglomerate of what we are. They specialize in many areas of animal care. Right now, they are going to places like Afghanistan and bringing back German shepherds - the war dogs, the bomb dogs. They are retrieving the dogs to bring back home to retrain as pets for homes, or to be military therapy dogs. We just love to work with services like this. They also have prison programs where they take the bigger dogs like pit bulls, labs and others that don't get adopted into homes easily. Prisoners will train them, often as military therapy dogs, and care of them until they are adopted. It's good therapy for both the prisoners and the dogs.