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Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert hauls a lot of recent awards ­hardware into Reliant Stadium.

Miranda Lambert has struck a delicate balance: Together with kindred artists like Jamey Johnson, she's made country music palatable once again to the sanctimonious scads of big-city, Tea Party-loathing dissenters, infusing the genre with a newfound sense of authenticity missing since the days of her legendary outlaw forefathers. At the same time, she's managed to write earnest, heartfelt everyman ballads like "The House That Built Me," as well as gritty, angst-filled anthems of empowerment like "Gunpowder and Lead" and "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" that resonate with rank-and-file fans of modern country, affording her truckloads of crossover appeal and street cred – not to mention a serious leg up on her contemporaries. She cleaned up at the most recent CMA awards — winning Best Female Vocalist and Album of the Year for 2009's Kerosene — and last month's Grammys saw the Lindale native walk away with the Best Female Country Vocal Performance award for "The House That Built Me." If that isn't enough of a coronation, then surely her second RodeoHouston appearance could be.

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