After its 24-hour online stream in May, The Marfa Tapes Film — following the making of Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram, and Jon Randall’s new collaborative album — is available for purchase and rental. Also featured in the short film is the new song “They’ve Closed Down the Honky Tonks,” a track that doesn’t appear on the recently released Marfa Tapes album.
A solo acoustic Lambert performance, “They’ve Closed Down the Honky Tonks” was penned by Lambert in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic when quarantine had everyone isolated and venues were being threatened with extinction. “No bartenders, no guitars with b-benders/No two-stepping shuffles, no shiny belt buckles,” Lambert sings sweetly while strumming.
The song also mentions a list of famed Texas venues, including Broken Spoke, Gilley’s, and Billy Bob’s, where Lambert played a series of sold-out shows in April and May. But more than an homage to music halls, “They’ve Closed Down the Honky Tonks” is a lament for the loss of collective energy provided by a live performance. “There ain’t nothin’ sadder than coverin’ Haggard and nobody singin’ along,” Lambert concludes.
The Marfa Tapes was released earlier in May and features stripped-down tracks that were largely recorded outside in the West Texas desert. “The whole idea of the record was trying to show people or let people listen to the moment of creation,” Jack Ingram told Rolling Stone about recording the project. “It takes time to record [songs] with a full band, and then we got to do a demo…it’s almost like making a whole movie. And then by the time you get into the studio, with the session band and everybody else, you’re light years away from the moment of inspiration and creation.”