Country charmer Miranda Lambert performs in Fort Myers April 14

Miranda Lambert performs at the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Miranda Lambert performs at the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Miranda Lambert with Justin Moore and Josh Kelley

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Germain Arena, 11000 Everblades Parkway, Estero

Admission: $25.75 to $46.75

Information: 948-7825 or www.germainarena.com

The last time Miranda Lambert came to Southwest Florida, she played at a country bar in Fort Myers.

Now she’s coming back — only at a much bigger venue, Germain Arena. Lambert is headline for her own tour this time and deservedly so. Earlier this month she was named female vocalist of the year by the Academy of Country Music. Her song “The House that Built Me,” also won for song, single and video of the year.

But hitting the big-time hasn’t changed Lambert much. She’s still out there trying to make a connection with the fans by playing the music she loves.

We sat down with her for a quick conversation before her Thursday night show with Justin Moore and Josh Kelley.

Naples Daily News: You’ve played in Fort Myers before at the country bar Ricochet — two times, actually. The second time was when “Gunpowder & Lead” was exploding. With an expanding fan base, the venues get larger. Is there anything you miss about playing a club (maybe the intimacy or simplicity) or is there a substantial production upside to the bigger venues?

Miranda Lambert: I love performing live and of course playing a small venue makes for a great up-close-and-personal connection with the fans. But I also love performing at large venues and festivals. Each venue is different and gives me something special to work with. The main objective is for the fans to have fun, and hopefully I manage to entertain them with my show

NDN: Country music seems as strong as ever. Industry mags have said it’s the country music fans that are buying CDs and going to shows. How would you explain the vitality of country music today? And how has it changed since you came aboard?

Lambert: I think the new technology is a huge part of the change in the industry. I feel good about it as I believe that more artists are able to get their music heard due to the Internet and different channels that are now available to folks that don’t have a record label deal.

The age of technology is enabling people to record some amazing stuff at home in their living rooms and bring it to their fans pretty immediately. I am lucky as I have a great team of people that help me plot my career, but really we let the music guide us and hope for the best.

NDN: I caught Justin Moore back in August opening for Brad Paisley. I was completely unfamiliar with him. Short set but great, with a killer band. Can you please talk a little about your tour pals Justin and Josh Kelley and what they bring to your show?

Lambert: I had a chance to tour with Justin Moore when we were out on Brad Paisley the year earlier. He was the opening act and we had a lot of fun together plus I like his music and think he fits my music in style and delivery. Josh Kelley was the opening act on the Revolution tour last fall and he turned out to be not only a lot of fun, but also a crowd pleaser with my fans. His music is quite unique and he has an amazing voice, you should check out his new record “Georgia Clay”

NDN: What tunes are on your iPod that your fans may be surprised to find you listening to?

Lambert: Nothing really surprising, as my fans know that I love all types of music. I am a big fan of old school country as I grew up on those sounds. Heard them at home growing up.

Most people know I love Beyonce, of course, and naturally anything from Patsy Cline to Doobie Brothers to Michael Buble, Jet, Merle Haggard, Katy Perry, Jack Ingram. I love discovering music and constantly live on iTunes.

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