HIGHWOMEN is a new collaborative movement formed by three times Grammy Award winning BRANDI CARLILE, with the daughter of Tom and Deanna NATALIE HEMBY, the singer and songwriter of “My Church” MAREN MORRIS and the Texas Playboy violinist AMANDA SHIRES.
Their poetry is dry, poignant and mellowed by life’s experiences. Their voices are significant and affective. The musicianship is creative and inspiring.
The Highwomen are joined by several guest musicians, vocalists and songwriters across the first album: For example, the project features Sheryl Crow (background vocals, bass), Yola (vocals, background vocals), Dave Cobb (producer, acoustic/electric guitar), Jason Isbell (acoustic/electric guitar), Phil Hanseroth (bass, background vocals), Tim Hanseroth (guitar, background vocals), Chris Powell (drums) and Peter Levin (piano and keyboards) with songs written by Carlile, Hemby, Morris, Shires, Isbell, the Hanseroth twins, Rodney Clawson, Lori McKenna, Miranda Lambert and Ray LaMontagne among many others.
“We are the daughters of a silent generation...” they sing in the burning title song.
This is not only a set of inspiring self-proclamations, but also a hymn of true courage that has been allowed to flourish after a lifetime, you guess, that has been spent nodding acquiescently to man’s intolerance and disrespect.
“Re-Designing Women” (video shared below) is a partonesque number that proudly spins its political credentials in spite of a melody that seems deviated from: “Sneakin Around” off the “Best Little Whorehouse” soundtrack. Nevertheless, and despite this gingham cheeriness, it is a clever and fearless track.
“Loose Change” has an old school vibe. Maren Morris curls the words: “Loose change […] I ain’t worth a thing to you…” and you know the man is gonna be discarded in just the same way. “‘Cause I’ll be rolling [you] away…”
The slouching paced “Crowded Table” is a beautiful 1970s style folk-country song about the kind of resilient strength a woman can find in hope and forgiveness: “I can be your mountain / when you’re feeling valley-low…” If you’re looking for a powerful message to share with family & friends that will mend broken hearts in a fragile world… here it is.
If there’s any criticism it might be that this is too cheesy — perhaps it’s too mamas apple pie and too Andy Williams Christmas Show. Maybe it’s not bold enough. But here’s a thing: It’s likely that we’ve had enough of being sophisticated. Maybe we are drawing a line under art-pop, and turning our collective backs to left-field, and the avant-garde, e-country, experimental American culture. Maybe, right now, all we want to do is settle down with a cup of chocolate ‘n’ marshmallows & allow family comforts to ease our pain.
File alongside: case/lang/veirs