Miranda Lambert Is Showstopper at Elton John Tribute
One of the most interesting projects released this year is that by the legendary Elton John, who released a pair of tribute albums April 6, Revamp and Restoration, which highlighted interpretations of his songs by pop and country's biggest acts, respectively.
On Tuesday (April 10), a number of the artists who feted Elton on those releases came together for the special Elton John: I'm Still Standing – A Grammy Salute. The evening spotlighted contributions from Ed Sheeran, Kesha, Sam Smith, Shawn Mendes & SZA, plus several prominent country artists, all watched over by John himself (in heart-shaped sunglasses!) and his husband David Furnish.
There were several country artists on the bill, but the undisputed highlight of the night was Miranda Lambert. The star was somewhat of a surprise on the telecast—although one of the biggest names, she performed a lesser-known song from the catalog, "My Father's Gun," which hails all the way back to John's foray into the country world in 1970, and she brought every bit of her Texas roots to the song.
The result was a performance that stood out from every other on the bill, despite her straightforward and special-effects-free delivery of the tune. John himself seemed to be stricken by the heartfelt performance, giving Lambert a nod of approval but otherwise appearing awed, in the audience.
"Thank you so much, I'm so honored to be here" she said simply, after finishing up the song.
Other highlights of the evening included Miley Cyrus—the only artist to appear on both the rock and country discs—blazing through her version of "The Bitch is Back" in thigh-high silver boots, Maren Morris presiding over a table of plenty during her soulful take on "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters," and Little Big Town's soaring "Rocket Man" which showed off the pure beauty of their combined voices.
The country-related disc of John's project is called Restoration; it's the passion project of his longtime songwriting collaborator, Bernie Taupin, who curated it as only a true country music fan could. It's packed with interpretations by a variety of both classic artists and bright newcomers including Lambert, Morris, Little Big Town, Chris Stapleton: Dierks Bentley, Rosanne Cash and Emmylou Harris, Miley Cyrus, Vince Gill and Don Henley, Kacey Musgraves, Willie Nelson, Brothers Osborne, Rhonda Vincent and Dolly Parton, and Lee Ann Womack.