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Pistol Annies

Pistol Annies – 2011 (Sony Nashville)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Pistol Annies

One might think that given the presence of Miranda Lambert, Pistol Annies are some sort of unworthy side, vanity project for Lambert in between discs. They also would be most wrong because this is not just Lambert and a few sidekicks.

Nope. This is a full-fledged, hardcore country trio album (Ashley Monroe and Angeleena Presley are Lambert's partners in crime) and an excellent one at that. The disc takes no prisoners to say the least, making that clear from the get go with the title track where you know that these are some ballsy women. There's a lot of sass and energy emanating from them throughout and more than a touch of humor throughout.

This is not the feel good kind of relationship songs that filter out of Nashville these days. There's a lot of bitching about men not being up too much good.

Lambert may never have sounded better. On her own discs, she tends to veer far more towards rock than country, but here her country flavors are accentuated a lot here with a considerable amount of twang and traditional country sounds (Trailer for Rent)

Monroe and Presley also handle vocal chores and don't cede any ground to Lambert. Monroe has had a mixed career, never quite getting off the ground as a solo artist, but writing away. She has a softer voice than Lambert and puts it to good use (Beige about a pregnant bride). Presley also shows her vocal chops, particularly songs she wrote (Lemon Drop, where she sings of "better days ahead")

One gets the distinct sense that Lambert, Monroe and Presley had a lot of fun in making a disc that is a rarity in country music these days - traditional, from a woman's viewpoint, funny and out of left field. Some artists are able to maintain various projects going, although that doesn't tend to happen all that much in country. Based on "Hell on Wheels," here's hoping that this was not a one-off side project. On Takin' Pills, the Annies sing " Well, we ain't ashamed of who we are." That's for sure.