Hear ‘Highwomen’, New Country Supergroup’s ‘Highwayman’ Rewrite [LISTEN]
After debuting the song during their set at the 2019 Newport Folk Festival in late July, the Highwomen have shared the studio version of "Highwomen," their namesake song. The track is a rewrite of fellow country supergroup the Highwaymen's signature tune, with its lyrics altered to reflect the experiences of women throughout history.
In "Highwomen," the quartet -- Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires, Natalie Hemby and Maren Morris -- "sing a story still untold," sharing the tales of a refugee killed escaping Honduras (Carlile), a woman killed in the Salem Witch Trials (Shires), a Freedom Rider (special guest Yola) and more. "You send our hearts to die alone in foreign nations ... but we will still remain / And we'll come back again ...," they harmonize.
Songwriter Jimmy Webb wrote the original “Highwayman” in the 1970s. His frequent collaborator, Glen Campbell, recorded the song as the title track of his 1979 album, but it was in 1985 that the then-newly formed Highwaymen -- Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson -- took the song to No. 1.
Carlile and Shires re-worked "Highwayman," but it wasn't until after they were done, Shires tells Beats 1's Zane Lowe, that they asked Webb for his blessing.
"We asked him if he wanted to contribute to the rewrite, and we told him what the concept of the movement and the band was," Carlile recounts, "and he wrote us back and said that he felt that it was spot on, and we were complimented by that to no end."
"Highwomen" is one of 12 songs on The Highwomen, the quartet's self-titled debut album, due out on Sept. 6. They've previously shared the studio versions of the song "Crowded Table" and their debut single, "Redesigning Women."
"Our goal is simply to elevate all women and completely abandon the concept of competing with one another," Carlile says. "So that we can let as many women through the door as possible, and give our girls those country music heroes that we all had."
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