I went to high school with girls like Miranda Lambert: cutoff-wearin’, ?y-fishin’, tanning-bed tomboys who would have slapped my prissy little ass to the next county line if I so much as made eye contact with their boyfriends. And that’s the stuff country music is made of. Lambert’s clever songs, feisty delivery and glossy Nashville production make for a record that’s as empowering as it is addictive. She’s got good taste in other people’s songs, too—the Gillian Welch and David Rawlings-penned “Dry Town” is a modern-day country-music masterpiece (let’s just say it rhymes “transmission” with “fishin’”), and Lambert’s spunky rendition of “Getting Ready” would do Patty Grif?n proud. But she’s got a soft side—ballads like the classic-bluegrass-in?uenced “Love Letters” and woe-is-me “Desperation” are just as convincing as the rockers. And what does Lambert do when she’s feeling desperate? She waits by the door with a lit cigarette and a shotgun (“Gunpowder & Lead”) and starts rowdy bar fights (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”). Some will write off Lambert for competing on Nashville Star, opening for Toby Keith and plastering winged guns all over her merchandise. The rest of us raise a can of Miller to the best thing that’s happened to mainstream country music since the Dixie Chicks.