The Highwomen redesign country music as new female supergroup


Four leading female artists recently came together to form a new country quartet. They go by “The Highwomen,” which comes from a play on the classic country supergroup “The Highwaymen” that was made up of  Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson.

The Highwomen includes three-time Grammy winner Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires, who has the biggest catalog and is known for her songwriting skills, and Marren Morris, the youngest in the group, who has released five albums of her own. The fourth member is Natalie Hemby, who was born into the industry because of her studio guitarist father and is a well known country song writer. 

This crossover may not seem to be such a big deal to the average listener, but to a true country fan, it is. The album, “The Highwomen,” released in September, 2019, shows the artists’ deep personal connection with each other. From the first track, “Highwomen,” the chemistry is there as each singer tells four different unique stories: a woman escaping from Honduras, a witchy healer, a civil rights protester and a female preacher practicing forbidden beliefs. This tragic and powerful song is a very heavy album opener. The singers’ vocal harmonies compliment the individual stories.

“Redesigning Women,” the second song on the album, is a lot less emotional and much more uplifting. It has a classic country instrumental sound with vocals that have a more tangy tone. The women are pictured as leaders, mothers, lovers, and it’s all about working hard to support society in any way possible.

The next two tracks, “Loose Change” and “Crowded Table,” are more bland instrumentally. The vocal harmonies drag on with repetitive lyrics. The message of “Loose Change,” however, feeling like you are valueless to someone and hoping to move onto someone who will treat you better, is a nice touch. “My Name Can’t Be Mama” is very upbeat and has comedic lyrics about struggling with motherhood and the overwhelming goal of being a parent yet still trying to live a young life. “Don’t Call Me” is another funny country tune with a great beat about getting rid of an ex who won’t stop crawling back to you. The spoken word bit at the end is a goofy add. 

The epic, sad send off, “Wheels of Laredo,” makes for a fantastic, powerful end which leaves the album on a high note. 

This supergroup is powerful and their songs are well produced. The song’s lyrics are entertaining and relevant to today. They’re emotional and address a wide variety of themes while stressing untold stories from female perspectives. This quartet works astonishingly well together, and I believe that this album perfectly highlights each of their talents.