Small Town, Kitchen Sink Dramas Never Sounded So Good.
I actually remember the day that I ‘discovered’ The Pistol Annies. It was in early 2012 and someone had requested Hell On Heels for my then radio show, so I checked them out on YouTube and within a minute I was so excited I did a little jig! Ten minutes later I had bought a download of the album and I think I played every track over the next few months.
Subsequently I’ve reviewed solo albums by Angaleena and Ashley; but had to actually part with hard cash for Miranda’s so it didn’t get featured on RMHQ!
Of the two of us here, I think it’s fair to say that Mrs. Magpie plays their albums more than I do; and Ashley Monroe’s SPARROW CD was on her car stereo only last week……serendipity, huh?
These days a new Pistol Annies album is a big deal not just here at RMHQ but across the whole Country Music world it appears, so I guess my thoughts won’t really make a huge difference to their bank balance; but here goes……….
Some rather neat Country guitar picking opens Interstate Prelude before the trio burst forth with some luscious harmonies on a short and sweet tune with just a hint of Gospel to it.
With so much of Country Music these days either being saccharine or Heavy Metal with a pedal-steel, it’s nice to find the Pistol Annies are still slightly edgy small town Country Girls at heart, starting with the kitchen sink dramas of Stop Drop and Roll One and the heart breaking When I Was His Wife showing that there’s still fire in their belly’s after all these years; and the opening lines to Got My Name Changed Back will surely touch the hearts of many in their fan-base;
“It takes a judge to get married
It takes a judge to get divorced
Spent the couple years in court
I got my name changed back!”
It’s an absolute firecracker and will have the ladies high-fiving each other as they dance like crazy at a concert; but when they hear Cheyenne, they will hug each and cry real tears as they slowly waltz around the edges of the dancefloor .
Obviously all three songwriters are skilled beyond belief and somehow they manage to collude quite spectacularly on all of the co-writes; with each drawing on their past or possibly present to write and deliver songs like Leavers Lullaby and Best Years Of My Life making them ‘believable’ for the listener at home.
As I alluded to earlier Country Music has moved on leaps and bounds since the days when Dolly and Loretta topped the charts; but Pistol Annies somehow still hark back to the ‘good old days’ in 5 Acres of Turnips and Milkman; but still make them contemporary enough to have some woman somewhere thinking “That could be about me!!”
The title track, INTERSTATE GOSPEL when it finally comes in all its glory is a real toe-tapper, clap-along tune that could easily be from Dolly’s Glory Years, as it’s got a fabulous beat and some death defying finger picking guitar too, and is surely destined for the radio.
There are already two singles here, Got My Name Changed Back and Sugar Daddy and I like them both a lot; but I’m going a bit left of centre for my own Favourite Song This Too Shall Pass which is from the darker end of the Love Song book and not really indicative of the rest of the songs here; but can only come from the heart of someone who is in a long and stable relationship that has sailed way past the lovey-dovey, hand holding phase but still love each other deeply.
Hmmmmm…..why would I like that best?
Now I’m on my second day with INTERSTATE GOSPEL I think Angaleena, Miranda and Ashley have found a delicate balance between the overall sound and choice of songs here; without compromising any of their individual ‘styles’; baring in mind all three singer-songwriters have now sparked off into reasonably different solo directions.
I’m also pleased to say the album is far from ‘over produced’; keeping it the right side of slick which allows the songs and stories to live and breathe without being swamped in copious string sections…..which was a bit of a fear in advance.
Released November 2nd 2018