Backing vocals on the cut "Cry on the Shoulder of the Road" by Levon Helm.
Martina McBride's third and best album couldn't have come at a better time. Not only does it
place her on the short list of women making the most significant and interesting records coming
out of Nashville these days, the Kansas-bred McBride has just been inducted as the newest
member of the Grand Ole Opry, making her the 73rd member of this most exclusive of country
The recording and release of Wild Angels comes hot on the heels of the late '94 birth of McBride's
daughter and her song selection and delivery brim with a confidence and spirituality that were
hinted at on her previous hits like "My Baby Loves Me" and her controversial "Independence
Day." The title track, that opens the new album with the lines "Between the perfect world and
the bottom line/Keeping love alive in these troubled times/It's a miracle in itself," is another
declaration of independence, but it's not one that is politically charged or confrontational.
McBride's strength and freedom comes from the revelation that having a supporting and loving
soul-mate is a source of empowerment. The message comes through loud and clear on "You've
Been Driving All the Time" and "All the Things We've Never Done," the latter a devastating
tribute to a marriage that's succeeded, despite the lack of frills, because of unconditional love.
McBride, not a songwriter herself, clearly relates more strongly to the material on Wild Angels
than to that on her earlier albums. And her vocals, showing as much gutsy poignancy as any
contemporary country singer, are as utterly convincing on Delbert McClinton's upbeat "Two
More Bottles of Wine," about drowning the sorrows and hurt of a failed relationship, as they are
on the gorgeous Bonnie Raitt-esque ballad, "Cry on the Shoulder of the Road." Backing vocals
on "Shoulder" are provided by Levon Helm, whose former outfit The Band is cited (along with
Creedence) as bands that have influenced her in creating an album that has more than a little
live and spontaneous feel.
Whether the songs are about enduring the hardships or celebrating the pleasures, McBride's
message is strong and hopeful. It's better to break down on the highway and cry on the shoulder
of the road than to endure a miserable relationship; better to celebrate the small triumphs than
bemoan all the things never done. In doing so, McBride and her music affirm the journey and
accept the speed bumps along the way.
--David Sokol, CD Review Magazine January 1996