Album Review: Miranda Lambert “Palomino”

Miranda Lambert Palomino Review Photo Robert Ascroft

When the preview copy of Miranda Lambert’s ninth studio album landed in the Six Shooter Country office recently, there was no way we could keep our resident self-confessed super fan Sally Maybury away from it – even if we’d wanted to!

Quick as a flash, Sally geared up in her chaps and spurs, saddled up that eager PALOMINO, and set off for a voyage of discovery through Lambert Country. What did she find there? Read on….

She’s a superstar in her own right, and this new album from Miranda Lambert isn’t one to disappoint. Hot off the stage from performing at this year’s C2C, Palomino is released on Friday 29th April, I’ve had a sneaky listen and I can tell you now, you are in for a treat. So, sit back, grab yourself a cold drink and enjoy!

Miranda herself penned all but one of the album’s 15 tracks, with the help of some friends, and as the most awarded artist in ACM history you just know those songs are going to hit the right notes. While the rest of us were locked up making banana bread in 2020, this lady took her friends out to her farm in Tennessee where the roots of Palomino began to be formed. As Miranda put it, “Since we couldn’t travel at the time, we decided to go on a journey through songs”.

And a journey is the absolute perfect way to describe this album. Actin’ Up is the opening number and it kicks you with this rocky sound and bluesy guitar number. It gives me the feel of getting the car ready, revving up the engine and starting on some mammoth road trip.

Scenes and In His Arms are more chilled, but still unique in their sounds. They have a feel of driving down the open road, meeting characters along the way, including a trucker named Dwayne, and an old hippie named ‘Katie with a K’.

Probably one of my favourite songs on the album is Geraldene. It’s got the classic kick-ass feel that you would expect from a Miranda song, a funky rock number that takes its roots from the classic favourite ‘Jolene’. It’s also one of three songs on Palomino that were first aired on The Marfa Tapes – the others being In His Arms and Waxahachie.

The first track that Lambert (and friends Luke Dick & Natalie Hemby) put together when at the farm was the aptly named Tourist. This song really sums up the feel that she wanted to create for the whole album, this idea of travelling on a journey, from place to place, meeting new people and experiences on the way; it gave her the freedom to explore.

As we move on this journey with Lambert through Palomino, I think we’re also taken back to the 1980’s a little with Music City Queen. We’ve now travelled further south with the bluesy feel to this number, and as an added bonus The B-52’s feature on it. To make it even more on trend (especially with the pandemic and how it has affected so many of us over the past few years) they couldn’t meet to record so the B-52’s had their part ‘Zoomed’ into the record!

A surprising cover version takes us into the second half of this album – the classic Wandering Spirit by Mick Jagger. There is no way that Miranda was simply going to cover this song. No, she kicks ass and makes it her own. With her distinctive vocals and the help of The McCrary Sisters (the gospel quartet who are known for working with Carrie Underwood, Margo Price and Bob Dylan) and Sarah Buxton this song really stands out.

For me the last few songs on the album don’t particularly stand out alone. They do what they’re meant to do, continuing the journey through the album and they flow perfectly from track to track, but there’s nothing overwhelming about them. Strange is a song I can see me singing at karaoke and has a feeling of driving through the desert, followed with I’ll Be Loving You which simply put is just a nice song.

As someone who has never been to Texas I now have an idea of what it’s like, and the kinds of smells, and sounds you’d experience when you were there. But I have to be honest Miranda Lambert really embodies all of this, and Waxahachie feels to me like a real homecoming song. It’s got a cosy feel about a place that means a lot.

We meet lots of different characters across the variety of songs and it really does take us on a journey that many of us can relate to. Elaina, the high wire walker from Carousel, is a great example of a character we can all relate to despite (or because of?) her occupation.

As a massive Miranda Lambert fan this album is great, every single piece sounds different, they’ve all got a unique feel to them in terms of instrumentation and musicality but yet they blend so seamlessly to create this wholesome journey that Lambert wanted us all to go on with her.

Miranda Lambert Palomino Review Album Art

Miranda Lambert – Palomino – Track Listing

1. Actin’ Up (Miranda Lambert, Luke Dick, Jon Randall)
2. Scenes (Miranda Lambert, Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby)
3. In His Arms (Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram, Jon Randall)
4. Geraldene (Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram, Jon Randall)
5. Tourist (Miranda Lambert, Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby)
6. Music City Queen feat. The B-52’s (Miranda Lambert, Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby)
7. Strange (Miranda Lambert, Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby)
8. Wandering Spirit (Mick Jagger, James Rippeto)
9. I’ll Be Lovin’ You (Miranda Lambert, Luke Dick, Jon Randall)
10. That’s What Makes the Jukebox Play (Miranda Lambert, Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby)
11. Country Money (Miranda Lambert, Aaron Raitiere, Mikey Reaves)
12. If I Was a Cowboy (Miranda Lambert, Jesse Frasure)
13. Waxahachie (Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram, Jon Randall)
14. Pursuit of Happiness (Miranda Lambert, Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby)
15. Carousel (Miranda Lambert, Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby)

Produced by Jon Randall, Luke Dick and Miranda Lambert
Additional Production by Mikey Reaves on “Country Money”

Photo – Robert Ascroft

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