Review – Miranda Lambert’s “Roots and Wings” is Refreshing To Hear

Miranda Lambert Roots & Wings

When it comes to Miranda Lambert, I’ve been more critical of her than other critics. While I didn’t review her 2014 album Platinum on the site, I did give it a listen and I was puzzled as to why it was getting so much praise. Some went as far to say it’s the best country album of the year. While I didn’t think it was a bad album, it certainly wasn’t great and it was ridiculous to call it the best of the year (a contender in the mainstream scene, sure). It was just way too bloated in length and there were several songs that just didn’t need to be on it. On top of that Lambert showed her usual Jekyll and Hyde look with her music. Some of the songs were great country music, while the rest was the pop/rock oriented with themes she has done to death (cheating men, showing violence towards these men). When Miranda performs a truly well-written song like “The House That Built Me,” that’s when I can enjoy her. That’s what I want to hear more from her. No more train wrecks like “Somethin’ Bad” or the forgettable “Little Red Wagon.” In other words, Miranda is capable of more, therefore I expect the best.

When I heard Lambert made a jingle for a Ram Truck commercial called “Roots and Wings,” I sought out and I couldn’t believe how country it was. I expected a pop/rock jam that almost every stupid car commercial plays. While I enjoyed the jingle, I found it sad that something actually good from her would be reduced to a crummy commercial. Luckily, the people at Ram Truck and Team Lambert figured out that a lot of people would love to hear a full version of this song and they finally delivered that to us. So today I can finally review “Roots and Wings,” the entire version of it. After giving it multiple listens, this is the side of Miranda I like and enjoy listening to. The song starts out with a twangy guitar that sets a very easy-going tone. It really puts the listener in a good place immediately and draws you in. In other words, this is country music. It’s amazing how country music fans want to hear country music, huh?

The song itself is about a woman getting roots from her father and wings from her mother. The father instilled in her the sense of family and love and to always remember what life is truly about. The mother instilled in her a sense of wonder and not being afraid to go chase after her dreams. In other words, she will always remember where she came from, but to also have the courage to leave your comfort zone to accomplish your goals in life. It’s a wonderful message that I’m sure all parents would like to instill into their own children. Lambert’s vocals in this song are fantastic throughout and do a great job telling the story being told. She also avoids the excessive twang that seems to creep up in her songs occasionally. I know she has a naturally twangy voice, but sometimes I feel like she forces it too much in her songs. She has a dynamic voice and she needs to let it shine in every song like she does in this one.

There’s been no indication that “Roots and Wings” will be released as a single to radio, but I’m certainly hoping it does. And why not? It’s already got a lot of exposure via the Ram Trucks commercial and I’m sure they would help push it to the moon too. After all it gets more eyes on their trucks. I guarantee “Roots and Wings” would do better at radio than “Little Red Wagon.” This is a very relatable song to listeners that I think would be a favorite of many across the upcoming summer months. Most importantly it would bring a dose of quality music to country radio, which badly needs it. This is the kind of music I want to hear from Miranda all the time and there’s no reason she can’t deliver it all the time. I definitely recommend checking this song out. “Roots and Wings” is one of the best songs released in mainstream country this year.

Grade: 9/10

12 thoughts on “Review – Miranda Lambert’s “Roots and Wings” is Refreshing To Hear

  1. Lisandro Berry-Gaviria June 8, 2015 / 1:28 pm

    I absolutely love this song. Definitely Miranda at her best and one of the few good offerings from mainstream country this year. I doubt she’ll release it as a single though because if her camp wants Platinum to go platinum soon then they’ll probably have to release another single from it. If I’m not mistaken, it’s not even at 700,000 copies right now. But it’s not like it would hit #1 anyway. (Are you kidding me? A female artist making an actual country song without a shallow theme? Sure…)
    Josh, I’m curious: which songs on Platinum did you actually like?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott June 8, 2015 / 1:49 pm

      The songs I like on Platinum are “Automatic,” “Smokin’ and Drinkin’,” “Holding On to You,” “Hard Staying Sober” and “Another Sunday in the South.” Also “Babies Makin’ Babies.”


  2. Zack June 8, 2015 / 1:53 pm

    Miranda seriously needs to release this as a single. She showed her feisty side with her last two releases and they both bombed (well not bombed, but for Miranda standards, kind of). We need one of these from Miranda. I mean her biggest hit is arguably “The House That Built Me” and that was probably the most gentle she ever went. Radio already hates females anyway so what’s the harm in actually releasing a country song? It could be a huge hit, but of course we’ll never know since labels and radio hate being risky

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Zack June 8, 2015 / 3:39 pm

    Oh great, just found out Miranda’s new single is “Smokin’ and Drinkin'”. That was my least favorite song from her latest album….. so much for this song


  4. Pete Marshall June 8, 2015 / 5:12 pm

    I really like this song the song is real country music. I hope she would release this song as a single. The song is at #32 on Hot Country Songs billboard chart. This song is better than her 2 previous crappy released singles.


  5. Noah Eaton June 8, 2015 / 6:53 pm

    I seriously hope they reconsider releasing “Smokin’ & Drinkin” as the album’s fourth single (Josh, I’m honestly surprised you like that song, to my ears it’s sounds ridiculously over-processed and “automatic”, if you will, not to mention Lambert sounds stiff and Little Big Town’s contributions are useless because of how their voices are drowned out by the production)………………..and they release “Roots & Wings” instead.

    If there’s a case to be made of re-releasing “Platinum” and adding one or more tracks, this is a rare case to make it. “Platinum” has been selling unremarkably over these past couple of months, and it’s evident by the promising sales of this as a non-single that this is just the type of song that will restore her momentum at radio following two busy, noisy singles that sold well enough (mostly “Somethin’ Bad”) but underachieved at radio.

    Above all else, I attribute the mediocre single peaks at radio with listeners feeling burnt out by her gimmicky tracks. I wasn’t crazy about “Automatic” either because of some disgruntled Luddite vibes in the tone of its lyrics, but I can at least respect that track highly for the efforts of Lambert and her fellow writers in leaving you feeling sentimentally nostalgic and appreciating the past while aching for simpler times……………..and the fact it’s her highest peaking single on radio this era proves listeners shouldn’t be underestimated when it comes to lyrical effort.

    “Roots & Wings” is obviously much more country-sounding than the Sheryl Crow-esque late 90’s-early 00’s Adult Top 40 pop rock-sounding “Automatic” was, but the rock-edged chorus is enough, in my mind, to keep listeners engaged in this climate. It also helps that the lyricism is more direct here. I see no excuse whatsoever as to why this couldn’t be her first (and quite likely only) Billboard Country Airplay #1 single this album cycle.


    • Lisandro Berry-Gaviria June 8, 2015 / 10:49 pm

      I didn’t hate Smokin’ and Drinkin’, but I do agree that it’s a terrible single choice, and that Roots and Wings would no doubt do better as a single. However, I really doubt that it would become a #1; comparing the current state of radio to the way it was when Automatic was released, it’s even harder for a female artist to get a #1 song. Especially with a song that actually sounds country. *cough* Kelsea Ballerini
      But it’s doubtful that she’ll release it as a single anyway, so we’re probably just futilely dreaming here. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • NoahHibiscusEaton June 8, 2015 / 11:50 pm

        But here’s the thing: Miranda Lambert is an established household name, unlike most other struggling female up-and-comers.

        Sure, you could immediately point to “Somethin’ Bad” and “Little Red Wagon” as instant evidence that Lambert is incapable of topping the chart anymore either.

        But here’s why I wouldn’t agree with drawing to that conclusion with those two songs. “Somethin’ Bad” was more the sonic equivalent of a Hollywood summer superhero blockbuster film commercial or trailer than an actual song. The music video itself is aware of that. Hence the strong sales, but not translating nearly as well to radio. Then you had a song that is all over the place and has no idea what it wants to be or what the hell it’s about, that might have had a catchy chorus but otherwise listeners struggle to follow along with. Songs like “Little Red Wagon” are pretty much a given to flame out in an environment that’s all about the safe, assured, banal path.

        Let’s also not forget that well before “tomatogate”, Lambert has almost always been an erratically inconsistent singles artist at radio. Prior to “Revolution”, she never once produced two consecutive Top Ten hits, and even after “Revolution” became her breakout album as a radio artist, she has still had singles each album cycle fail to make the Top Ten.

        “Roots & Wings” can unmistakably be identified as a song with a familiar form of composition (verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-verse-outro) and straight-forward lyricism and vocals.I’m confident that will be enough to appease a demographic that was able to send much more bare-boned efforts like “She Don’t Love You” and “What We Ain’t Got” to the Top Fifteen.


        Trust me: country radio’s two ESTABLISHED female entertainers (Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood) have no signs of worrying even in this current climate. It’s women who are UP-AND-COMING that are in a tragic state of repression by radio.

        Music Row still is obsessed with the Miranda Lambert/Blake Shelton power couple, and I have no doubt “Roots & Wings” would be a viable chart-topping candidate if released next.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lisandro Berry-Gaviria June 9, 2015 / 7:49 am

        All right then, we can agree to disagree on Roots and Wings reaching #1. I see where you’re coming from, it’s just that I have zero faith in country radio right now. Hopefully I’m just thinking negative thoughts, though.
        As for your point about Miranda and Carrie being more established than other females, I never said that they were doing badly on radio. I said that they were having trouble reaching #1. Carrie’s last #1 was Blown Away. Miranda’s last was Over You. Yes it’s true that they shouldn’t worry about being ignored by radio, but reaching #1? I don’t think so. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.


  6. Pete Marshall June 8, 2015 / 8:16 pm

    Smokin’ and Drinkin’ was supposed to be her second single but instead they released that crappy “something bad” instead. I hop they released “Roots & wings” as her next single after “smokin’ and drinkin’ “


  7. MG June 11, 2015 / 2:09 am

    Ashley Monroe’s new song The Blade is also amazing.


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