Annie up will be out tomorrow! Here are some reviews!
When the all-girl trio Pistol Annies– made up of Miranda Lambert (aka “Lone Star Annie”), Ashley Monroe (“Hippie Annie”) and Angaleena Presley (“Holler Annie”) – released their gritty 2011 debut, Hell On Heels, the collaboration was initially thought of more as a side project. Yet, given the girls’ uncanny chemistry and gift for captivating realism, it was obvious that the group was more than just a one-off. Next week on May 7, Pistol Annies return with their follow up, Annie Up, a 12-round blast signaling that these three Annies are just getting started.
It’s hard to argue that Hell On Heels wasn’t a fantastic record (just ask Neil Young and John Fogerty – both of whom are fans), however, the difference this time around is that Miranda, Ashley and Angaleena seem to be finding their identity as a true ensemble – not just three excellent songwriters getting together for a great time. Even their nicknames point to an increasing ease as they settle into their roles as part of the band. And interestingly, Annie Up itself dives into new themes with a heavy emphasis on image.
“Annie Up” is a good title for the Pistol Annies’ second album. Like the gambling term it playfully puns, the title underscores that this brash trio is raising the stakes, investing more time, effort and artistic nerve into its new 12-song collection.
The gamble pays off: “Annie Up” builds on the trio’s successful debut “Hell on Heels” by taking even more risks with bold material and inventive arrangements. Mixing bawdy humour with sensitive insight, the Annies entertainingly take on real-life issues, including how Southern families quell their secrets (“Hush Hush”), how alcoholics curse themselves while pouring another drink (“Dear Sobriety”) and how women struggle with what it takes to prepare for an evening (“Being Pretty Ain’t Pretty”).
And people looking for the fun country shown by the Dixie Chicks will find primarily rock-influenced production that is serious to the point of dry earnestness. The best of the three albums released on May 7 comes from the Pistol Annies, the trio of Lambert, Monroe and Angaleena Presley.
With Lambert and Monroe onboard, the bluegrass-inspired collection is nothing short of entertaining, even when the women complain non-stop about the men in their lives. With songs such as “I Feel A Sin Comin’ On,” “Dear Sobriety,” and “Unhappily Married,” the women are alternately lusty, boozy, and detail-oriented, and offer fresh perspectives on tales usually sang by country’s redneck men.
Pistol Annies know “Being Pretty Ain’t Pretty,” but are packing up their make-up, heels and outfits for the launch of their sophomore album, Annie Up. They will debut their single, “Hush Hush” on the Today Show Tuesday, May 7. “We are so excited to release the new album,” said Miranda. “It’s been like waiting for Christmas morning to come,” she laughed.
Although the stakes are higher for Annie Up, the trio has a sense of peace about their second record, which comes out May 7. “I’m not nervous about it,” said Ashley. “I have such a calm feeling. I have great faith in this record and I really think that people are going to understand it. We’re all super proud of it and ready for it to be out!”
Annie Up features 12 new tracks all written by the sassy trio of Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley. The album opens with “I Feel A Sin Comin’ On,” an old fashioned cabaret style song. “We love this song and hope people blush when they hear it,” said Ashley. “We wrote it with no instruments because none of us could play the chords,” she continued. “So we snapped our fingers while we sang it on the work tapes and when we played it for our producer, he said he wanted us to snap on the album too,” said Angaleena. “Fingers are considered an instrument so we got paid to snap our fingers,” snapped Miranda.
Pistol Annies have the ability to speak to and for their audience, especially their female fans. Those fans are bound to make a sing-along anthem out of “Girls Like Us,” a song the Annies wrote for all the women in their lives. Says Miranda, “We’re three girls with three different lives and three different points-of-view, but really, if you get a group of women in a room and you talk about problems, everybody’s gonna yell out ‘amens’ and have stories to tell.”
Their uniquely county, yet contemporary viewpoints connect them with country’s tradition of truth-telling. “But, I mean, we’re not doing anything new. Loretta Lynn did it way before we did,” said Angaleena. “We’re just doing it for our generation, bringing it back home,” said Miranda. Pistol Annies style!
It’s happy hour at the Timothy Demonbreun House, a dignified Nashville mansion with historical significance, and as Pistol Annies knock back a couple after a long media day for new album “Annie Up,” the ladies are very much enjoying each others’ company as they make a little history of their own.
Pistol Annies are made up of three maverick country singer/songwriters — Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley — at different positions on the upward trajectory of their respective career arcs. Even if the Annies are all successful as solo artists, particularly Lambert (who is clicking on all cylinders at radio, retail and headlining tours), whatever you do, don’t refer to the group as a “side project.”
“This not some kind of vanity project,” observes producer Frank Liddell. “They’re dead serious about it and they want it to succeed.”
The three united under a common bond of fierce independence, a rebellious nature, and heavyweight songwriting chops, surprising (and overwhelmingly appealing to) not only the country music “establishment,” as it were, but catching the ears of cynical music press and such artists as Neil Young, who casually tossed out in his new autobiography that the group are “writing their asses off.”
That, Mr. Young, would be correct. The Annies’ first album, 2011′s “Hell On Heels” emerged rather quietly but didn’t stay quiet long, simultaneously out alt.-ing alt.country, out roots-ing roots and out rocking country rock.
With insightful, masterfully delivered songs about love, lust, robust indulgence of a wide range of substances, and domestic dysfunction at all levels, the Annies were, and are, completely dialed into the consciousness of what a certain segment of young American adults are living today, and strikingly divergent from much of what is happening on the contemporary country scene today. Frank, insightful, sharp and totally engaging, songs like “Takin’ Pills,” “Beige,” and “Trailer For Rent” tapped into the spectrum of frustration and celebration in a manner that recalls not only the riskier work of Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, or Lucinda Williams, but also brings to mind certain commentaries by the likes of Haggard, Cash, John Prine or even Young himself.
Still, Pistol Annies’ perspective is proudly feminine. “It’s inside insight into how women’s minds work,” says Presley. “Listen and take notes, boys.”
More often than on the first record, all three Annies (and only them) are involved in writing the songs on “Annie Up,” and much like last time, each are unfiltered doses of spirit, poignancy, romance, and sharp social observation. Hanging with Pistol Annies is, as Liddell puts it, “flat-out fun,” and here we talk about the new record, their songwriting, and how their evolution as artists and people. Throughout, Pistol Annies show they don’t take themselves too seriously, as long as you don’t call it a side project.
Billboard: The first record seemed to come out of nowhere, but people are definitely paying attention now. Did you feel any pressure to equal or top the last record?
Angaleena Presley: If the songs wouldn’t have come on their own, the way they did, then I don’t think we would be sitting here right now.
Miranda Lambert: We don’t want to force it, ever.
Angaleena: We say our A&R guy, his name’s Jesus Christ. He brought us together, and he gave us the songs, and the time to spend with each other, and the music drives what we do.
Country music superstar Miranda Lambert, who lives in Tishomingo, has earned a platinum hit with her emotional ballad “Over You.” Earlier this week, the Recording Industry Association of America certified the single platinum for selling 1 million downloads.
The chart-topping hit, which Lambert co-wrote with husband Blake Shelton, last week earned the Country Music Association’s song of the year honors at the 46th Annual CMA Awards.
The couple penned “Over You,” the second single off Lambert’s 2011 album “Four the Record,” in honor of Shelton’s brother Richie, who died in a car accident 22 years ago.
Lambert wept openly on stage at the CMA Awards as her husband related how his father, Dick, who died earlier this year, urged the couple to pen “Over You.”
“My dad always told me, `Son, you should write a song about your brother,”‘ Shelton said in the accepting the CMA songwriting trophy. “I lost my dad in January, and it’s so amazing to me that tonight, even after he’s gone, he’s still right. I just needed the right person to write this song with and the right person to sing it.”
Although three married couples had been previously nominated for CMA song of the year – Ed and Patsy Bruce for “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” in 1978, Sanger D. “Whitey” Shafer nd Darlene Shafer for “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind” in 1985, and “All My Ex’s Live in Texas,” written by Whitey Shafer and his fourth wife Lydia Shafer in 1987 – Lambert and Shelton are the first to win the honor.
As The Boot first reported earlier this month, the Pistol Annies have joined member Miranda Lambert on her On Fire tour. Their first appearance will be tonight (April 26) in Fresno, Calif. Tour guests Jerrod Niemann and Chris Young will continue their stints on the journey, as well.
“We have chemistry as friends, we have chemistry on stage, and we have chemistry in our writing,” Miranda says about her Pistol Annies cohorts, Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe. “It’s one of my favorite times during my show because I get to step into a different role.”
The time could prove to be twice as productive as the girls prepare to record their sophomore album. “Our goal on this next record is to write everything in our family, just the three of us girls again,” Miranda tells The Boot. “The new album will be what you expect: three country girls singing about three country girls’ lives. I’m looking forward to getting back in the studio with them. That will be our focus after the summer tour.”
Pistol Annies/Miranda Lambert On Fire Tour Dates:
4/26 – Fresno, Calif. – Save Mart Center
4/27 – Mountain View, Calif. – Shoreline Amphitheatre
5/10 – Omaha, Neb. – CenturyLink Center
5/11 – Kansas City, Mo. – Sprint Center
5/12 – Dallas, Texas – Gexa Energy Pavilion
5/17 – Tallahassee, Fla. – Tallahassee Leon Civic Center
5/18 – Southaven, Miss. – Landers Center
5/19 – Nashville, Tenn. – Bridgestone Arena
6/1 – Virginia Beach, Va. – Patriotic Festival
6/2 – Camden, N.J. – Susquehanna Bank Center
6/3 – Bristow, Va. – Jiffy Lube Live
6/8 – Indianapolis, Ind. – Klipsch Music Center
6/9 – Chicago, Ill. – Wrigley Field
6/10 – Detroit, Mich. – Comerica Park
6/14 – Columbus, Ohio – Nationwide Arena
6/15 – Cincinnati, Ohio – Riverbend Music Center
6/16 – Maryland Heights, Mo. – Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
6/21 – Corpus Christi, Texas – American Bank Arena
6/22 – Beaumont, Texas – Ford Park Arena
6/23 – New Orleans, La. – UNO Lakefront Arena
When The Times spoke to Miranda Lambert recently for a story in Calendar, in which she reflects on her two nominations for Sunday’s Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas, she also talked about the Pistol Annies, the band she formed with Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley. That album took off rapidly when their debut album, “Hell on Heels,” came out last summer.
She said the Pistols are already writing songs for a second album, which the band plans to record in the fall and put out next year. That means fans should expect a bit of a wait for Lambert’s next solo album, the follow-up to her “Four the Record,” which is in the running for album of the year in this year’s ACM Awards.
“I’m not going to think about that for a while,” she said. “This one barely got in under the wire” to make the eligibility period for ACM Award consideration. “It’s always so much work — I’m glad to do it, but I feel so relieved when it’s done.”
In addition to her own album, the Pistol Annies collection and her current “On Fire” tour, which includes a stop next month at the Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio, Lambert also managed to squeeze in her wedding to longtime beau Blake Shelton, who will be co-hosting Sunday’s award show once again with Reba McEntire. The CBS telecast begins at 8 p.m. Pacific time from the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. The show is tape delayed for the West Coast.
Here is a behind the scenes look at Miranda’s new video Over You! This is Miranda’s first video since Only Prettier and the first video off of Four The Record. She looks amazing! The full video will be released on Thursday March 1st!!! Of course screencaptures will be added to the gallery, but until then check out the preview!
EDIT: The video is avaliabe on iTunes if you want to purchase!