Luke Combs says a Miranda Lambert album inspired by her divorce helped shape him. The Weight of These Wings dropped in 2016, about a month after Combs' debut single "Hurricane" shipped to country radio.

Knowing this, Combs' fans can better appreciate what it meant for him to record "Outrunnin' Your Memory" with Lambert on the Growin' Up album (2022). The two singers wrote the song together, but he didn't consider a duet partner until it was time to cut his record.

"When I went to record it, I was just like, ‘Hey, I think it would be awesome if you would sing on this thing if that’s something that you’re interested in,'" he tells Taste of Country Nights. "So, she came and gave it a run and it sounded great."

Combs has cut duets with three of the nine artists whose albums he lists as influences. "1,2 Many" with Brooks & Dunn and "Does to Me" with Eric Church were part of his What You See Is What You Get album (2019). He's not released a song with Jason Isbell, but Combs has recorded with Isbell's wife. Amanda Shires joined him for "Without You" on the deluxe version of that album.

The Weight of These Wings was written in the wake of Lambert's 2015 divorce from Blake Shelton and the start of her relationship with Anderson East. She's been married to Brendan McLoughlin since 2019.

The remainder of Combs' list of life-changing albums includes a mix of legends and contemporary artists. Lambert, Kip Moore and Jon Pardi are among his contemporaries. The rest have albums released during his childhood or before.

Combs was responding to a question posted by country music chart expert Chris Owen on Twitter. Owen works for Taste of Country sister station WYRK in Buffalo, N.Y.

The reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year's world tour will begin in March.

Best Country Albums of 2022 - Critic's Picks

This list of country music's best albums from 2022 separates artists who aim to make great albums from those simply looking to record great songs. Only one artist found below notched a solo No. 1 country airplay hit this year. Popularity doesn't always equal quality.

It’s not that albums from country music’s most notable hitmakers aren’t any good. Count Luke Combs and Thomas Rhett as strong honorable mentions for this list but both were edged out by a group that in some ways didn’t have to worry about the confines of commercial success. Randy Houser and Muscadine Bloodline are independant artists. American Aquarium is too and Ashley McBryde released the sort of album you’d expect from an indy act. 

The lesson is country fans need to look deeper for the most daring, creative music of 2022. 

11 Luke Combs Songs That Proved 'Em All Wrong

Check Out Luke Combs' best songs, and the songs that changed his life when so many others thought he wasn't good enough to be a country star.

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