For her third album, Chely Wright switched record labels and teamed up with producer Tony Brown, who helmed the boards for records by George Strait and Reba McEntire, among others. Brown stripped Wright's music down to the core – for much of Let Me In, she's singing over clean acoustic arrangements; only a few cuts are adorned with pop/rock instrumentation. Wright benefits from the spare arrangements, which only emphasize her lovely voice and charisma. The result is her most accomplished and arguably best album to date.
A few years after the release of her fourth album with Verve, a gospel-themed set of reinterpretations titled Fellowship, Lizz Wright signed to the Concord label with an eye toward concentrating on original material. The vocalist made a connection with veteran multi-instrumentalist and producer Larry Klein and recorded Freedom & Surrender with a stable backing band that included drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, percussionist Pete Korpela, bassist Dan Lutz, guitarist Dean Parks, and keyboardists Pete Kuzma and Billy Childs. For most listeners, the change of label and mostly new set of supporting musicians will seem transparent. Like Wright's previous albums, Freedom & Surrender is graceful and exacting, yet those qualities come across in a fashion that does not seem deliberate – remarkable for material that draws from folk, blues, jazz, soul, and gospel and often fuses two or more of those genres. Longtime collaborator Toshi Reagon contributes only two songs, "Freedom" and "Surrender," but they neatly begin and end the album in spirited and assured form. David Batteau and Jesse Harris separately collaborated with Wright and sometimes Klein on the writing of seven selections.