Maren Morris had plenty of reasons to say no to joining The Highwomen. The group, which also includes Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby and Amanda Shires, was launching right as Morris was releasing her sophomore GIRL album, and kicking off her Girl: The World Tour. The Texas native clearly had plenty of reasons to turn the invitation down, but knew right away she wanted – and needed – to be part of the transformative group.
“I think a lot of people on my team probably thought I was insane to join a band right in the middle of my own album cycle and tour,” Morris told Rolling Stone. “But when Brandi called to ask me if I wanted to be a Highwoman, and that these were going to be the people involved, I couldn’t say no. I’ve also been touting the same message with Girl; it’s high time for more female perspectives in the country genre.”
Hemby, until now, has been perhaps best known for her work behind the scenes, penning dozens of hits, including Little Big Town's "Pontoon," "Downtown" by Lady Antebellum, and numerous cuts for Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves and more. Still, she was happy to come into the spotlight, as much for the reason behind The Highwomen as her chance to show off her ability to sing.
“There’s always been this pitting of women against women, maybe because there aren’t a lot of spots,” Hemby reflected. “Or they try to make it feel like there is a competition, or women don’t want to hear each other. But any time I go to a woman’s show — Miranda’s, or Little Big Town — I see women there in full force. And we want those girls to grow up and have lots of women to look up to.”
The Highwomen just released their debut single, "Redesigning Women," and are, of course, hoping to have a hit on radio – something that has been alluding female artists in recent years. But whether it lands on the charts or not, The Highwomen will still be proud of their efforts.
“I don’t know what the excuse will be if there is one,” Carlile said about the possibility of radio shunning the single. “But I know that if we get played on country radio and we succeed in opening the door on that format for other women, then that’s a great story. But if we don’t get played and we are rejected by country radio, that’s also a great story. The Highwomen are a great story, no matter what.”
The Highwomen's self-titled debut album will be out on Sept. 6.
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Erika Goldring