Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram and Jon Randall are offering a visual component to their 2021 release, the Marfa Tapes, with a documentary about the making of their acoustic project on a 5,000-acre ranch in the town of Marfa, Texas.
Listening to the unvarnished, sparsely-produced result, you can hear background noises like airplanes, coyotes and cows, as well as a musical rawness that Lambert admits was a little uncomfortable to release.
“It’s scary. It’s risky. It’s very, very vulnerable,” the country superstar says in a trailer for the film. “To not have any fixes, to not have any production. To just let the wind blow, and the birds, and the cows, and kinda let it be. I feel like we’re taking people on a really raw and intimate journey.”
Filmed during a five-day recording session, the documentary will include live performances set against the wilds of the West Texas ranch where the three artists were staying as well as interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.
The Marfa Tapes will premiere on Paramount+ on January 20. The documentary release comes at a high point for the album and its three creators: The Marfa Tapes was recently nominated for Best Country Album at the 2022 Grammy Awards.
“I just feel you can let your guard down here a little bit,” Lambert reflects in another portion of the trailer. “I think you are free to be you.”
In a recent conversation about the project with Taste of Country, Randall and Ingram elaborated on how creatively free and open they felt while in Marfa, in part because it was the perfect place to focus on songwriting.
“This ranch that we stay on, it’s like, 5,000 acres that back up to 100,000 acres that back up to the Davis Mountains,” Randall recounts. “…The thing is that there is nothing else to do down there, and that’s why all you wanna do is write songs. You almost can’t help it. Because you’re just there.”
“Usually you need alcohol to lose your inhibitions, but that’s just because you’re afraid people are gonna see you being weird,” Ingram adds. “When you go out somewhere and it’s just you, God and your friends, and the stars — there’s just something about it.”
That was especially true for Lambert, Ingram shares, who’d just had a big breakout year the first time they went to Marfa as a trio. While she was excited to be riding the high from her success, she was also adjusting to life as an internationally recognized celebrity — a level of fame that wasn’t always comfortable for her.
“I’ll call it Miranda’s grocery store year. When she was on the cover of every grocery store magazine at the impulse buy lane,” he jokingly adds. “It was so funny, man — you could see the relief on her face when we’d go downtown to get breakfast tacos or whatever and nobody gave a damn. Nobody looked at her sideways. She was just another redneck-looking chick from East Texas visiting Marfa.”
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