The all-female country supergroup The Highwomen (Maren Morris, Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires, and Natalie Hemby) made their live debut performance at Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island. The group surprised fans when they brought Dolly Parton on stage to join them.
“Newport has always been on the right side of history,” Carlile told Rolling Stone, sharing highlights of the festival from the 1963 performance by civil rights choir Freedom Singers, to Bob Dylan’s controversial embrace of electric guitar. “In its 60th year, Newport is going to have its very first all-female, headlining collaboration,” continued Carlile. “Thank you for being on the right side of history again!”
On stage, The Highwomen and Dolly performed “9 to 5,” “Jolene,” and “Eagle When She Flies,” and Carlile and Dolly performed a duet of “I Will Always Love You” backed by an all male band which included Amanda Shires husband Jason Isbell.
Ahead of their performance, Linda Perry captured a backstage rehearsal moment with Dolly, Carlile, Maren, Amanda, and Natalie. Perry says, “A very rare moment with Dolly, Maren Brandi Carlile and the High Women”
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Morris shared on Facebook, “I don’t know what to say except thank you. I won’t even wipe my tears because I’m proud of them and what this song has done. The Highwomen made their debut and GIRL is the number 1 song in the country. We did it.”
The idea for The Highwomen was created by Amanda Shires, who shared, “I had this crazy idea called The Highwomen back in 2016. With the help of Dave Cobb (and the encouragement of Jason Isbell) it became something. This year, me and Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris and Natalie Hemby (and a bunch of other wonderful women) got together and made a record that speaks to something bigger than us all. We invite you to stand shoulder to shoulder with us.”
The Highwomen released a debut single “Redesigning Women” and their second single “Crowded Table” both with messages about females and inclusion. An album will be released on September 6 produced by Dave Cobb.