She recently sat down with Kelleigh Bannen onApple Music Countryto talk about her eighth studio album and some of the stories behind the songs.
On the Palomino tracklist, she included three tracks from her 2021 collaborative record with Jon Randall (who co-produced Palomino) and Jack Ingram, The Marfa Tapes, “In His Arms,” “Waxahachie,” and “Geraldene,” which are still three of my favorites on the new record, too.
“Geraldene” is essentially a nod to Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” except for the fact that Geraldene is a less than savory character whom the narrator of the song finds to be the complete opposite of Jolene, as Miranda sings in one of my favorite lines:
“You’re trailer park pretty, but you’re never gonna be Jolene.”
Miranda says the title was inspired by the movie Heartworn Highways:
“Funny enough is I just had that title, because I was watching ‘Heartworn Highways.’ Like a million times I watched it, and in that movie, Townes’ dog is named Geraldene. He’s like, ‘This is my dog Geraldene,’ and he’s showing the camera around his chicken coop or whatever.
And Geraldene is his German Shepherd. And I was like, ‘That’s a cool name.’ So we were writing in Marfa, this was the right trip where we actually decided to put out ‘The Marfa Tapes.’
But I’m with Jack and John Randall on a picnic blanket in Marfa and I’m like, ‘What about Geraldene? That’s the song title. Who’s she? Let’s write something about her.'”
But apparently, it didn’t come without a little friction between Jack and John in the songwriting process, which all happened out in Marfa, Texas a few years back:
“We’re like, ‘Okay.’ So we start. John picks up his guitar and instant magic happens, because it’s John. But something… I don’t know where it went awry, but John and Jack got in a huge fight.
One of them wanted Geraldene to be one person and one wanted her to be somebody else, and wherever we were chasing with this song. And I just was like, I got up, walked in, made a drink, a sandwich.
I was eating some pickles, watching out the window going, ‘They are still just arguing and bickering in the yard.'”
I love the entire scene this paints, with Miranda sitting inside eating her lunch just watching them out the window going at it about a made up character in the middle of nowhere Texas.
Eventually, she brought them both a beer, and tried to play peacemaker in order to get the guys to calm down some so they could try to finish the song:
“Probably 15 minutes goes by, and I walk back out there and I bring two beers and I was like, ‘Everyone should calm down. What are we fighting about? This should not be hard. Her name’s Geraldene, guys.’
And so we finally landed on who she is, and she is a little bit of everyone that we either kind of envied and also hated.”
There’s not much two cold beers can’t fix…
And I think the song ended up exactly the way it was supposed to be, with a complex character and fun production that’s a perfect addition to not one, but two, great Miranda albums.
Plus, knowing what they went through to get the song makes it just a little bit more fun to listen to: