Miranda Lambert really does have the golden touch. After winning nearly every major country music award over the last year with her critically acclaimed and commercially successful album Revolution- not to mention her song-of-the-year, “The House That Built Me”- Lambert has combined forces with Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Pressley to form the Pistol Annies. In with their first album release under the new trio, they’ve hit it out of the park with one of the best albums of the year- and written every track in the process.
Each one of the young ladies has adopted a stage name and that fact is important as it pertains to the album as a whole. Presley is Holler Annie since “I am from eastern Kentucky and am a coal miner’s daughter and grew up in a holler.” Monroe is Hippie Annie. “I am all love. I am a hillbilly hippy, from east Tennessee,” she said. “I do yoga while watching ‘Cops.’ I’ve always been the peacemaker.” Lambert is Lone Star Annie, since “I am from Texas. People hate us because we’re so proud,” she said.
What results is a set of ten songs that are rich in poor-redneck-women-power-empowerment that on the surface might seem like an urban vs. rural comparison that is currently cluttering up the radio airwaves right now. It’s so much richer. “Beige” is the color of the bride’s shotgun wedding dress and it is tender, innocent and oozes the naivety of the protagonist. “Lemon Drop” is the favorite of the album and compares the sucky early part of life where dreams and money are at opposite ends of the spectrum to the candy where you have to get through the sour part to get to the sweet. The ladies southern are phenomenal. Their sass and spitfire on “Bad Example” and “Takin’ Pills” are charming as can be. And the great writing and southern charm bleeds through any redneck reservations on “Trailer For Rent” and the post-mortem free-for-all of momma’s things in “Family Fued.”
Song after song shine with topics told from fascinatingly flawed characters. They’ve taken subjects that are typically associated with backwoods mentality and told stories with wit and grit that are smart as hell.
Four and a half stars out of five