One of the most widely-debated hot-button issues in the country today, of course, is gun control. But just because her albums include such songs as “Gunpowder and Lead” and “Time to Get a Gun,” that doesn’t mean Miranda Lambert relishes the idea of finding herself in the crossfire of such heated discourse, knowing as she does that sharing one’s personal opinion on a highly-politicized topic could mean trouble for your career.
“I pretty much will answer any questions with a truthful answer, because that’s just how I am,” Miranda tells The Boot. “But when it comes to any sort of political debate or anything revolving around politics, I’m a huge fan of the Dixie Chicks and I saw what happened and I learned from that. I don’t want to ever use my career or this thing that I’ve built as a platform to sway people to my direction, because, truthfully, I don’t care. I just want to believe what I believe and be happy, and people can believe what they believe. I don’t ever want to push my opinion on someone because I don’t want them pushing their opinion on me.”
Miranda believes that having politicians and pundits argue over gun-control legislation only goes so far.
“You can debate all you want, it won’t really change anything,” she notes. “It’s such a sensitive subject with everybody. I feel like there are people that should be willing to give — to meet in the middle — that aren’t, and vice versa. Obviously, I have my concealed handgun carry license, I’m pro on guns and I’m a hunter, so for me, that’s what I use guns for, protection and hunting. I’ve always been that way, it’s the way I grew up. But some people don’t feel like they need guns and that’s their prerogative. But I do think that we should each have a choice of one or the other.”
Perhaps no single aspect of the gun-control issue sparks more debate that whether or not to enact a ban on assault weapons, another topic on which she refuses to engage.
“I don’t ever talk politics,” she explains. “That’s now become a political debate. It doesn’t matter what I say, I feel like I’ll piss somebody off. All I know is you can pretty much see where I stand on everything. I have two guns tattooed on my arm, that’s all I need to say.”
On May 7, Miranda and her friends Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe will fire another shot with the second Pistol Annies album, Annie Up. That same month, she returns to the road with fellow country superstar Dierks Bentley on the Locked and Reloaded tour.
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.
Miranda’s fourth single from Four The Record, Mama’s Broken Heart drops to #4 on the Country Mediabase Chart! Now, it’s time for us to do our part! We can get this song to the top spot!
To request the song call your local radio stations or use the following request links we have put together for you located here!
Season four of “The Voice” is off to a great start and the camaraderie between the coaching panel — Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and new additions Usher and Shakira — has never been better. Putting any conflict rumors to rest, the mentors fielded questions from reporters at NBC’s Summer Press Day in Pasadena, Calif. on Monday (April 22), but spent most of the time exchanging friendly and funny barbs.
“I was a little bit nervous [about adding new coaches] because I knew how well the show was doing and it was beating the odds,” says Blake. “It’s a music talent show in a world where there’s a lot of those. We knew we had something that worked and I had never met either one of these two [Usher and Shakira] before. The one thing that you can’t fake is chemistry. I’ll be damned if it’s not as strong as it’s ever been with the four of us. I’m lovin’ it. I’m proud of that. Whether it was NBC or [executive producer] Mark [Burnett], whoever picked these two knew they weren’t dealing with artists with egos, they were dealing with really good people and that’s what makes it work.”
In an effort to educate her hubby on his new coworkers, Blake’s wife, and fellow country superstar, Miranda Lambert gave him a history lesson on Usher and Shakira’s impressive careers.
“I can tell you a true story right now,” he started to say.
“These tend to be long,” joked pal Adam. “There goes Grandpa Shelton telling his stories.”
“Last week my wife was with me here in Los Angeles,” Blake continued. “Every now and then I get to have her here with me on her days off. We spent probably three hours one night, Miranda was educating me on Shakira and Usher and showing me videos. She’s such a fan. She was like, ‘You don’t appreciate how …’ I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re awesome, babe. I swear to God, they’re awesome. I know they are.’ She’s like, ‘No, look at this video and then tell me!’ I swear I saw all of their videos, I listened to all their hits and that’s been the last week of my life. She sold me on them.”
One sore point among the coaches is the steals during the battle rounds, although, as it was pointed out, contestants who are stolen by another coach may still be sacrificed in favor of a singer they’ve been working with since the beginning of the season.
“That makes the decision even tougher because you do feel loyalty to the ones that picked you to begin with after you picked them,” says Blake. “There is a trust and a bond there. If you’re really doing your job as a coach, you have to make the decision based on talent and not a relationship. That’s tough. The lines get blurred and it’s a gray area sometimes. Sometimes that makes a difference in a winner and a loser in those type of situations.”
Catch “The Voice” Mondays and Tuesdays at 8:00 PM ET on NBC.
Miranda Lambert’s lifelong devotion to her four-legged friends led the country superstar to start the MuttNation Foundation in 2009, with the goal to end pet suffering and homelessness in the U.S. and abroad. Because the singer-songwriter/activist is one of the most in-demand country entertainers working today, she’s often approached to become involved in other fund- and awareness-raising efforts, and has to pick and choose carefully which causes she’ll support. But it’s a pretty safe bet the recipients of her goodwill will have furry paws and cold noses.
Miranda’s lastest involvement is with the Pedigree Feeding Project, and their “Choose the Next Community” initiative, which, thanks to Miranda’s fans, will result in animal shelters receiving a supply of dog food at no cost, allowing them to spend the money they save on other worthwhile programs to help the pet population.
“We get a lot of calls to be part of and partner with,” Miranda tells The Boot. “But I’m really a stickler for something that fits with me and what I do. When we got the call from Pedigree telling us about the Feeding Project, I jumped right on it because it really coincides with all the work I’ve been doing for animals all this time. Pedigree is a great brand you kind of think of as high-end dog food, but they’re also really doing a lot of work in shelters.”
To start the program this year, thousands of fans submitted the names of communities they felt would benefit from the feeding project, then those were narrowed down to five communities. From those five, two will be chosen, with at least two participating shelters in those communities receiving their core dog food needs at absolutely no cost for at least a year. The five communities chosen were Detroit/Flint, Mich., Erie, Pa., Wasau, Wis., Jackson, Miss., and Jacksonville, Fla. The winning two communities are currently being determined and will be announced in the coming weeks.
“When they’ve done this in the past, it has saved shelters up to $100,000 a year by not buying food,” says Miranda. “So they can use that money in other ways, building new facilities or improving their facilities, or doing adoption drives or spay-and-neuter clinics.”
Blake Shelton, Miranda’s husband, knows all too well his better half’s animal-loving ways. “I never know what to expect when she goes to town in Tishomingo, [Okla.],” Blake told The Boot and other reporters at a press conference earlier this year. “When she comes back I never know what’s going to be in the car. I can tell you — I’m not kidding when I say 20, maybe 25, maybe 30 times — she’s come home from the grocery store and there will either be a dog or a cat in her car. And they’re not always puppies, it might be a big a– pitbull in there and I’m going, ‘What the hell, you can’t just …’ ‘Well, it licked me so it was nice,’ and I say ‘Yeah, but you don’t know if it has rabies or what.’”
Join Pedigree on Facebook here, and click here for MuttNation Foundation’s Facebook page.
Miranda Lambert returns to the Locked and Reloaded tour on May 9, in Bakersfield, Calif. See a list of her upcoming concert dates here.
On May 7, Annie Up, the sophomore album from Miranda’s trio Pistol Annies (with Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe) will be released. The lead single from the album, “Hush Hush,” is out now.
As I mentioned earlier, Miranda is featured in the May 2013 issue of Elle Magazine (Adele is on the cover) honoring women in music.
I have added the scan to the gallery. Check it out!
- Magazine Scans > 2013 > Elle – May 2013
Miranda and Blake are on the April 29, 2013 cover of Us Weekly Magazine. Scans are in the gallery.
- Magazine Scans > 2013 > Us Weekly – April 29, 2013