Personnel: Frank Liddell (vocals); Luke Reynolds (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, synthesizer, background vocals); Frank Rische (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, background vocals); Lex Price (acoustic guitar); Chris Coleman (electric guitar, trumpet, synthesizer, drums, percussion, background vocals); Glenn Worf (electric guitar, piano, background vocals); Scotty Wray (electric guitar); Spencer Cullum (lap steel guitar); Chris Carmichael (strings); Hargus "Pig" Robbins (piano); Matt Chamberlain (drums, percussion); Louis Newman (timpani); Lillie Mae Rische, Madi Diaz, Gwen Sebastian, Aaron Raitiere, Eric Masse, Anderson East, Annalise Liddell, Lucie Silvas (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Eric Masse.
Recording information: The Ca?ino, Na?hville, TN.
Photographers: Daniela Federici; Becky Fluke; Johnny lavoy.
Miranda Lambert came to stardom via reality TV, so living in public isn't unusual for her, yet suffering through a public divorce from Blake Shelton had to take its toll. Lambert, however, doesn't wear her heart on her sleeve on The Weight of These Wings, a sprawling double-disc album released in the wake of her separation from Shelton. She channels whatever sorrow she has into a moody, muddy production that has more in common with the impressionistic smears of Daniel Lanois than whatever sounds were emanating from Nashville in 2016. Even on its sunnier songs -- the slurring stumble of "Pink Sunglasses," the Southern shade on "We Can Be Friends" -- The Weight of These Wings seems to take place at dusk, its melodies and rhythms nestling into a comforting murk. Perhaps Lambert never explicitly writes about heartbreak, but she's got leaving on her mind -- she opens the record with "Runnin' Just in Case" and concludes with "I've Got Wheels," realizing along the way that she's a "Highway Vagabond" while throwing in a cover of Danny O'Keefe's "Covered Wagon" for good measure -- and admits there are "Things That Break." All these songs suggest some uncertainty lurking in Lambert's heart, but The Weight of These Wings is a work of extreme confidence. If the two discs don't appear to adhere to their specific subtitles (disc one is called "The Nerve," the second "The Heart"), all 24 songs derive from the same viewpoint, which isn't markedly changed from 2014's Platinum. Maybe the swagger is tempered a bit, but Lambert still blends ballads with pop, old-time country, sly stories, and a bit of rebellious rock. By radically shifting her sound, she winds up focusing attention on her songwriting and musicality: it may have mainstream songs, but The Weight of These Wings isn't produced like a country-pop album, so it demands attention and rewards close listening. It is by no means tight, but its excess is also its asset because immersion reveals different pleasures with every spin. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Rolling Stone - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The set's most vintage moment is 'To Learn Her,' a honky-tonk weeper worthy of George Jones, offering a lovers' curriculum with no easy answers. It's emblematic of an album that never wallows in breakup pain, but instead deals -- making plans, getting drunk, flirting, testifying and, above all, moving on."
Spin - "What's brilliant about WINGS is how the country maverick buries her heartache in a murky, muddy production..."
Entertainment Weekly - "Though her star power here is undiminished, the album feels looser and more vulnerable than her earlier work, sometimes even surprisingly subdued. But the melodies, once they start to dig their hooks in, sound as if they've always been there..." -- Grade: A-
Pitchfork (Website) - "THE WEIGHT OF THESE WINGS is a breakup album refreshingly devoid of spite or anger. Instead, it's a thoughtful concept record, more focused on moving on and growing up than lashing out or telling all."