The Highwomen on Making History and Praying With Dolly Parton

Inside the supergroup’s beginning and their group text

August 6, 2019

Of course The Highwomen have a group text, and of course it’s call… “The Highwomen.”

“It is our band name, and it’s ours” laughs Natalie Hemby from the Country supergroup.

Along with Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, and Amanda Shires, The Highwomen are a fierce new female collective which will release their self-titled debut album on September 6. In the short time since rocketing onto the scene, they’ve set fire to old ideas with their song and video for “Redesigning Women”, and have made history at the Newport Folk Festival. But first, let’s hear more about this group text.

“Amanda and Maren post a lot of pictures of shoes” Brandi Carlile reveals about the text conversation in the exclusive interview above. “Hemby talks about varicose veins and SUVs a lot.”

“I do” Natalie Hemby laughs.

“Brandi sends a lot of emojis” says Amanda Shires.

“A lot of emojis because I’m the ultimate mom” Carlile adds.

“The concept of The Highwomen was an idea in Amanda’s head” explains Carlile about the group’s beginnings. “She walked up to me in the back of a bar and said, ‘I want to start a band with you called The Highwomen.’”

“I had the idea for it since after my daughter was born, and I was thinking how can I do something that might make operating in the musical world easier for her,” adds Shires. “Dave Cobb said you need to call Brandi, and I waited because I was a scared chicken****.”

Shires found the courage, and together they are blazing a new trail, starting with the first ever all-female headlining set at the Newport Folk Festival. The performance was their first time performing live as a band, and they managed to get Dolly Parton to perform with them for her first visit ever to the legendary event. Not a bad first show.

“The nerves were on 11,” Carlile says with wide eyes. “I mean, we couldn’t think straight. I was so out of body that I’m just now kind of accepting it and understanding that what happened was so special for our band and our movement. Just grateful to Dolly doesn’t begin to cover it.”

Always a ray of positivity and light, Parton offered Carlile some advice before they took the stage. “Dolly took my face in her hands and told me to bow my head, and she prayed,” Brandi recalls. “She told me to melt like a candle and shine my light, and I will never be the same.”

“She had her makeup artist apply sequins to Maren and my’s cheeks” adds Shires.

“She gave you actual fairy dust?” Carlile offers in amazement.

The self-titled album from The Highwomen arrives next month with even more all-star support from Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell, Miranda Lambert, and many more. It is available everywhere on September 6.