Miranda Lambert had a secret she was keeping when she won the entertainer of the year prize at Monday’s Academy of Country Music Awards, but she didn’t take long to let it out of the bag. Thursday the country superstar revealed she’s completed a new album, “Palomino,” her first solo effort since 2019’s “Wildcard,” for an April 29 release.
Lambert wrote much of the album with songwriters Luke Dick and Jon Randall — 12 of the 15 tracks include one or both of those names in the credits — and those two writers also co-produced “Palomino” with her for the first time. “Wildcard” had been produced by Jay Joyce, after she spend most of her prior career working with a team led by Frank Liddell.
Lambert did have a solo album out in the interim since “Wildcard,” but it was a one-off trio album, 2021’s “The Marfa Tapes,” recorded with the co-billed Randall and Jack Ingram. Three of the tracks from that all-acoustic effort have been re-recorded with a full band for the new album: “In His Arms,” “Waxahachie” and “Geraldene.”
Lambert is currently up for two Grammys — best country album for the “Marfa” project and country duo/group performance for a duet with Elle King, “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” (a radio hit that will not be included on the new album).
In the official announcement, “Palomino” is made to sound like a concept album of sorts — “a record that explores the world and the people in it… (H)er inner stranger travels lyrically from Fort Worth to the Mojave Desert; Battambang, Cambodia to Maine; the Crystal Palace in Bakersfield to the Rocky Mountains and beyond.”
Natalie Hemby is a co-writer on seven of the 15 tracks, having written those with Lambert and Dick in a trio formation of their own.
“The making of this record has been one of the most fun and creative experiences of my career,” Lambert said in a statement. “Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby and I went out to my farm in Tennessee in 2020 and started writing songs. … The first one we wrote was ‘Tourist’ and that set us on a path to create something with a bit of a theme. Since we couldn’t travel at the time, we decided to go on a journey through songs. I hope y’all are ready to travel with us wandering spirits and meet some cool characters with great stories.”
The album has just one “feature,” per se — and it’s the veteran rock group the B-52s, who appear as guests on the track “Music City Queen.” “When Natalie, who is such a bad-ass singer and the kind of person who raises the cool in every room, started singing ‘Rollin’ on the river…,’ we were all like, ‘What if the B-52s sing on this?’ They loved the song,” said Lambert. “They Zoomed in with Luke and Jon and sang their part, which gives me so much joy. I missed their Zoom, ‘cause I was on a plane; but to Zoom the B-52s into your record? Yes, please.”
There’s also just one cover song, and it’s every bit as unlikely: a new version of the Mick Jagger solo track “Wandering Spirit.”
First out of the gate, though, is “Strange,” released Thursday via a minimalist music video incorporating imagery shot during the Joshua tree-filled album cover shoot
The singer’s win for the entertainer of the year award at Monday’s ACMs was considered an upset, since Lambert had been nominated for the top prize several times going back to 2010 without ever winning it.
“I cannot believe I’m not there to celebrate,” said Lambert via video at the end of the awards webcast, explaining that she was in London doing concerts. “This is my first time to miss the ACMs in 17 years, so my heart is a little broken. But I’m happy to be where I am. I’ve been waiting for this for a really, really long time. … This one goes out to all the singer-songwriter girls out there that are putting their blood, sweat and tears into their guitar strings. We did it. This is for us.” Lambert is the most awarded artist in ACM history.
She has a short 15-city co-headlining tour with Little Big Town booked starting May 6 in Houston.
The track list with accompanying writing credits:
- Actin’ Up (Miranda Lambert, Luke Dick, Jon Randall)
- Scenes (Miranda Lambert, Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby)
- In His Arms (Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram, Jon Randall)
- Geraldene (Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram, Jon Randall)
- Tourist (Miranda Lambert, Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby)
- Music City Queen feat. The B-52’s (Miranda Lambert, Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby)
- Strange (Miranda Lambert, Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby)
- Wandering Spirit (Mick Jagger, James Rippeto)
- I’ll Be Lovin’ You (Miranda Lambert, Luke Dick, Jon Randall)
- That’s What Makes the Jukebox Play (Miranda Lambert, Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby)
- Country Money (Miranda Lambert, Aaron Raitiere, Mikey Reaves)
- If I Was a Cowboy (Miranda Lambert, Jesse Frasure)
- Waxahachie (Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram, Jon Randall)
- Pursuit of Happiness (Miranda Lambert, Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby)
- Carousel (Miranda Lambert, Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby)