Their name was already a nod to The Highwaymen — the outlaw country dream team of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson — but now The Highwomen have gone one step further in evoking that supergroup.
On Tuesday, the female country quartet released “Highwomen,” a rework of Cash and Co.’s signature song, “Highwayman.”
As on the original, Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris and Amanda Shires sing from multiple perspectives. Their characters, however, are all women, including a Honduran refugee, a Freedom Rider and a casualty of the Salem Witch Trials.
They’re joined by rising Americana star Yola, who takes the lead on the Freedom Rider’s verse.
And unlike the original, all of the song’s voices join together for a final, defining verse.
“We are The Highwomen singing stories still untold/ We carry the sons, you can only hold/ We are the daughters of the silent generations/ You sent our hearts to die alone in foreign nations/ It may return to us as tiny drops of rain/ But we will still remain.”
Though the original “Highwayman” was recorded by four of country’s greatest singer-songwriters, the song was actually solely composed by Jimmy Webb (“Wichita Lineman,” “MacArthur Park.”)
In an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, Carlile revealed that their rewrite had gotten Webb’s personal seal of approval.
“We asked him if he wanted to contribute to the rewrite. We told him what the concept of the movement and the band was. And he wrote us back, and said that he felt it was spot-on, and we were complimented by that to no end.”
“The Highwomen” will be released Sept. 6.
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