Miranda Lambert has loved “Scars” since she was a teenager. Her long-time guitarist Scotty Wray penned the song with lyrics including, “Every little scar has become a part of me.” Until now, Lambert said she didn’t feel like she was damaged enough to sing the song.
“We both had a really (bad) 2015,” Lambert told the sold-out crowd at her Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars Unplugged show at City Winery Wednesday night. “I’ve cried every time he sang it for (more than 10) years. Tonight I’m going to try and sing it.”
And she did. It was one of the night’s many emotional moments. Lambert’s good friend Ashley Monroe, fellow hit songwriter Nicolle Galyon, and hit writer and producer Shane McAnally joined her on stage for the songwriter’s night. McAnally raised eyebrows and left his fellow performers and the audience glassy-eyed with “Different for Girls,” a song about how women and men deal with broken hearts in different ways. Galyon shared “Boy,” a song she wrote inspired by her son that detailed universal scenes of an infant growing up — a striking and beautiful heartbreak for parents in the audience.
There were also plenty of laughs. McAnally never missed an opportunity to crack a joke — quipping that audience members would have to use their imaginations with his “insanely masculine” exterior when he sang Lambert’s hit “Mama’s Broken Heart.” He said his mother inspired the song, but she didn’t like for him to tell people that. But when she met Lambert, he said it was the first thing his mother told the singer. Over the course of the night, McAnally also sang “American Kids” and “Somewhere with You,” both of which he wrote for Kenny Chesney.
Monroe delivered songs including “Bombshell,” “Weed Instead of Roses” along with songs she’s written for other artists.
“I wrote this,” she said before singing “The Truth.” “I’m not just doing a Jason Aldean cover.”
The night was also studded with surprise guests, prompting McAnally to compare the dressing room to a “clown car” of celebrities.
Charles Kelley came out to sing Lady Antebellum’s “It Ain’t Pretty” with Galyon.
“It’s one of the best songs ever written,” Kelley told the crowd. “I can say that because I didn’t write it.”
Afterwards, Galyon said that singing “It Ain’t Pretty” with Kelley “just made my life.”
Collin Raye, brother to Lambert’s guitarist, came out to perform “Desperado” in honor of The Eagles' Glenn Frey, and Lambert invited popular country newcomer Maren Morris on stage to sing “I Wish I Was.”
Over the course of the night, Lambert sometimes gave her place in the round to a special guest. She kicked the night off with a duet with Monroe on “Heart Like Mine” and later brought out Brent Cobb to help her sing her new song “Sweet by and by” from Cobb’s new album “Southern Family.” Lambert used her last turn in the spotlight to deliver “Automatic,” one of her biggest hits, as the audience sang along. She let Galyon sing the lines, “staying married was the only way to work your problems out.”
The night closed with what Lambert dubbed an “all-skate.” The night’s performers and special guests gathered on stage to swap lyrics on Barbara Mandrell’s “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool.”