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Country - Released November 2, 2018 | RCA Records Label Nashville

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Three elves holding hands in the middle of a forest and looking to the sky with a sense of determination; the cover of the latest Pistol Annies album is rather puzzling, as is the title, Interstate Gospel. Does the trio sing in Elfish or some other invented language on this record? Not at all. For this third album, the three mega stars of contemporary country music - Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley - position themselves as true warriors from a feminist point of view, challenging their struggle for freedom. After going through marriage, motherhood, divorce and midlife crises, it’s time to switch things up. The radiant music begins with a hymn to Jesus (Interstate Prelude) like any self-respecting classic country album. Though here, these hillbilly hippies combine country with gospel, hard rock country and bluegrass. Three different tonalities that form an original harmony throughout these 14 tracks. The three young women set the bar very high and their "supergroup" is clearly not to be taken lightly. From pop-country ballads (Best Years of My Life) to bouncy hillbilly music (Got My Name Changed Back), they reveal a powerful, deep and clear style of songwriting with a touch of black humour, like on the frenetic song Suggar Daddy. They deal with taboo subjects with smiles on their faces. Now that the cowboy era is over, let's make way for the cowgirls! © Anna Coluthe /Qobuz
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Country - Released May 7, 2013 | RCA Records Label Nashville

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Why did Miranda Lambert choose to form a group at the height of her career? At first, it seemed she used Pistol Annies as a way to catapult kindred spirits Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley into the spotlight, but now that this objective has been achieved -- Monroe got loosened from the muck of the Music City, winding up delivering the terrific solo album Like a Rose early in 2013 -- there doesn't seem to be much reason for Lambert to stick with the trio. Far from leaving her comrades behind, Miranda doubled down with the Pistol Annies' second album Annie Up, a record that feels in every sense like a thoroughly integrated effort; the work of a group, not three individuals. All three share common bonds -- based on these songs, none of the Pistol Annies are content within their relationships, they're comfortable burying family secrets ("Hush Hush"), and are stubborn enough to live forever ("Unhappily Married") -- and the striking thing about Annie Up is how there is no clear separation between Lambert, Monroe, and Presley; they aren't just equals, but their stories meld into a singular narrative, three voices mining all the pain and pleasure of love and loss in the 21st century, as they trade verses, write from the same shared perspective, and tell tales nobody else dares to. Each of the Annies are savvy pros, cannily crafting songs that are simultaneously comforting and celebratory, conveying how quickly joy can turn into heartbreak, suggesting the same things that make us happy make us sad. Annie Up doesn't have the rhythm of a relationship, it has the relationship of life, the mess of family, new loves, and exes that hang around. In this context, the camaraderie of the Pistol Annies cuts deep -- they're a gang, encouraging the other two not to talk about Tina, praising sobriety, realizing life goes on even when love leaves -- and that gives Annie Up a bruised, beautiful richness. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Country - Released August 23, 2011 | RCA Records Label Nashville

Hell on Heels -- the debut from Pistol Annies, the trio of Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe, and Angaleena Presley -- arrived in the waning days the summer of 2011, just months before the release of Four the Record, Lambert's fourth album. Four the Record garnered the attention and airplay, but Hell on Heels had longer legs, helping to shape the sound and direction of country music in the 2010s. That's a lot of baggage to put on a record as modest as Hell on Heels, but its sense of sisterhood was its strength and ultimately the key to its endurance. Upon its release, only Lambert was a solo star -- Presley had yet to release an album and Monroe's career was off to a shaky start -- but Miranda didn't dominate the trio. Pistol Annies celebrated the common ground shared by three distinct voices, voices that shared a sensibility but were complementary. Lambert's swagger is offset by Monroe's sweetness and Presley lends an underpinning of grit, the three combining to write songs rich in empathy and humor. While Pistol Annies don't kick up a lot of dust on Hell on Heels -- "Takin' Pills" bounces to a snapping twang, "The Hunter's Wife" swings to a Texas two-step -- its controlled quietness feels defiant, drawing attention to the sturdiness of the songs and the flintiness of the performances. At their core, the trio is a songwriter's collective, alternating and collaborating on new songs, but Pistol Annies is also a band, gaining power by how their singing and tunes harmonize. Subsequent albums sharpened the trio's collective and individual voices, but Hell on Heels has its own earthy elegance, a spirit and sound that echoed throughout the 2010s. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Pistol Annies in the magazine
  • Cowgirl Supergroup
    Cowgirl Supergroup Three elves holding hands in the middle of a forest and looking to the sky with a sense of determination; the cover of the latest Pistol Annies album is rather puzzling, as is the title, Interstate...