Pistol Annies - Interstate Gospel
In the five years since their last record the constituent parts of Pistol Annies have really been through experiences: babies, divorces, more babies, new high profile relationships, break-ups, and so on. No to mention the two thirds that aren't Miranda Lambert making breakthroughs in their own right.
Way back in 2011 when the Annies first came about, Lone Star Annie (aka Lambert) was hot. She's now a bonafide superstar, and respected artist (2016's double album, The Weight Of These Wings was one of the best-reviewed records that year). Hippie Annie (Ashley Monroe) had one, well respected but not broadly known, record out, and Holler Annie (Angaleena Presley) was a new one on everyone. In the years since Monroe has released two astounding records (2015's The Blade and 2018's Sparrow) and Presley has announced herself with the witty honesty of 2014's American Middle Class and 2017's fierce and no-holds-barred Wrangled.
So what does that mean for this supergroup then? Well mostly it means a sense of increased maturity; the bumps, bruises, happiness, and joy of life are reflected in the songs on Interstate Gospel. The first half, from 'Stop Drop And Roll One', through to 'Cheyenne' have a sense of world-weariness to them. Of heartache ('Cheyenne'), and of wasted time ('Best Years Of My Life'), but laced with that trademark wit and songwriting skills of the trio. The title of '5 Acres Of Turnips' alone shows their unique sense of style, while the lyrics of 'When I Was His Wife' as the kind of turnaround you expect.
From 'Got My Name Changed Back' onwards though there's more venom to their words, that track in itself is a spiky, empowering song about taking back control. Then there's 'Milkman', and the astounding 'Masterpiece', and the downright heartbreaking 'Commissary'. It's not the frothy pun stuffed record you might have expected from this trio, but it is excellent. It's a bunch of songs about heartbreak and getting on with life through its ups and downs. Written entirely by Monroe, Lambert, and Presley, possibly the most amazing thing is how clearly each of their personalities shines through. This is life. This is country music. This, most definitely, is the Pistol Annies. Welcome back ladies.