All year long, Miranda Lambert has been working a cover of the Dixie Chicks’ “Cowboy Take Me Away” into her set, whipping up a makeshift girl group with help from whomever happens to be part of the Certified Platinum Tour that night.
Some evenings, she’s joined by backup singer Carolyn Dawn Johnson and opener RaeLynn. Other times, she swaps harmonies with bandmate Gwen Sebastian and The Voice champ Danielle Bradberry instead. Performed toward the end of Lambert’s set, “Cowboy Take Me Away” isn’t just a break from the amplified punch of her louder songs; it’s a reminder that Lambert, who notched her first gold-certified single around the same time that the Dixie Chicks were wrapping up their swan song, Taking the Long Way, hasn’t forgotten about the girl-powered pioneers who came before her.
That same spirit convinced the recent ACM winner to resurrect her Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars Tour, this time with all-female cast of headliners and opening acts. RaeLynn will be back in the saddle for the entire run, which kicks off this fall. Other openers include Ashley Monroe, Lambert’s Pistol Annies bandmate (and husband Blake Shelton’s “Lonely Tonight” duet partner), and guitar shredder Clare Dunn, whose mix of Telecaster twang and female firepower has made her a favorite on SiriusXM’s Highway station. Rounding out the bill is country newcomer Courtney Cole, a Louisiana native who competed in the first season of CMT’s Next Superstar.
The original Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars Tour took Lambert cross-country during the spring and summer of 2000, building up buzz for her recently released Revolution. That tour boasted its share of openers, too — from upcoming country kings like Luke Bryan and Eric Church to working class favorites like Cross Canadian Ragweed and Wade Bowen — but all of them were male, making Lambert one of the only females during a particularly dude-heavy run. Things have changed since then, with Lambert now pulling double duty not only as one of country music’s leading ladies, but one of the top-selling acts of the entire genre. She’s earned the right to call her shots — and this fall, the only boys hitting the Roadside Bars stage will be those in the backing band.