Jennifer Nettles on Brandy Clark: “Fast Friends”

"Drunk in Heels" Just One of Their Collaborations on Nettles' New Album

In April, I had the chance to get an early listen to some of Jennifer Nettles’ new music during the Academy of Country Music Awards weekend in Las Vegas.

Her album Playing With Fire, out Friday (May 13), is her second as a solo artist post-Sugarland, and she co-wrote the majority of this one was with Brandy Clark.

“Having Brandy out with me for the That Girl tour, she and I became fast friends and had a nice opportunity to do some writing together,” Nettles said. “She is all over this record. I love what she brings, and I love our blend of influences when we do get together.”

One of those songs the two collaborated on that I fell instantly in love with was “Drunk in Heels.” Because I can relate to the story in the song, but I also really related to the story behind the song.

“When I did that tour, I had a 5-month-old son. And I remember having a conversation with Brandy, and she said she’d always wanted to write a song about that quote about how Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, except backwards and in high heels,” Nettles said, referring to the iconic dancing duo of the 1930s and 1940s.

Then this happened.

“Shortly thereafter, I was sitting on the bus feeding Magnus and trying to get him down for a nap,” Nettles recalled. “And I was exhausted. My husband had just jumped off the bus, and I was pissed, and I was foul. Then the idea for the first verse descended on me, and I called Brandy and said, ‘Get your guitar. I’ve got it.’”

Why Nettles said she likes this tune so much is because of the way it points a subversive finger at a topic — this one being the imbalance that working mothers cope with. Being dog-ass tired and thinking, “I’d like to put on my pajamas and go to bed, but no one in the house would eat.”

But Nettles and Clark saved the best part for the hook:

“I ain’t saying that it’s easier to be a man, but let’s get real/When we get drunk, we do it in heels.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.