The Pistol Annies gave their first show in five years during the second of Miranda Lambert‘s Country Music Hall Of Fame (CMHoF) Artist In Residency slot on Sept. 26.
Designed to give artists a blank canvas to showcase their art, Lambert chose to use her final evening after the week prior to welcome the Annies sisters. Shortly after the evening ended, RCA Nashville released the three tracks previewed during the show, and by morning their third studio album Interstate Gospel had been revealed (below) for release Nov. 2.
“Surprise, y’all,” said Lambert in welcoming the sold-out CMHoF crowd of 800. “This will be the very first Pistol Annies show in five years.” Shortly after the release of their sophomore album in 2013, the Pistol Annies unexpectedly cancelled all tour dates.
The new hoppin’ rocker “Got My Name Changed Back” featured Lambert’s bold annunciations of wily lyrics anticipated after her highly public divorce. The audience reaction to: I don’t let a man get the best of me/Spent an afternoon at the DMV/I got my name changed back, were jogged by an unapologetic, jeering Lambert: “Y’all get it?”
Additional new songs—now on streaming services and available for immediate download with an album pre-order—included the album’s washboard toe-tapper, driving title track and single “Interstate Gospel” and the yearning, “Best Years of My Life,” about numbing dreams of breaking out of a settled relationship.
The Annies joked of reading lyric sheets from “hymnal” music stands in brushing up on lyrics from their catalog. With the cleverness and honesty of Loretta Lynn in “Takin’ Pills,” the crescendoing “Girls Like Us,” and the smoldering and empowering “Hell On Heels,” the Annies are able to perfectly showcase their female-empowered craft in a unique way inside country music. What they may have lacked at times in vocal dynamic or harmony was made up for in charisma and wit.
Songs like “Blue Tick Hounds,” about small town, simple, tender and true life echoed within “Trailer For Rent,” and even family reunion dynamics in “Hush Hush.” The bad girl side was explored with the swampy “I Feel A Sin Coming On,” the feisty “Unhappily Married,” or the steel-driven hula in “Bad Example.” All that eased into less colloquial, heartbreakingly honest titles like “House On Fire”—which Angaleena Presley said Lambert jumped all over because it was about burning something up. Their depth and seriousness continued with “Dear Sobriety” and even the brilliant “Housewife’s Prayer,” before the more gentle, carefree clogger “Damn Thing About It” and whistler, “Lemon Drop.”
Despite two ex-husbands between them, Lambert herself touted her singleness from the stage, echoed in the fervent “Boys From The South.” “I want y’all to love us for our mistakes, and celebrate our victories tonight,” said Lambert.
“Thank you for loving the Annies and welcoming us back to the world,” she summed. “We needed this. We’re just three girlfriends that live a lot of life. We’ve got husbands, and ex-husbands, and babies and family things, and all the things you deal with in life and we sit around write about our lives. Our records are slumber parties on wheels.”
With a pregnant Presley in a black tee shirt standing middle-ground, Annies Ashley Monroe and Lambert flanked with a black flapper and thigh-high boots, and thin suede black fringe dress, respectively.
All with a guitar available, the trio was backed by four during the CMHoF’s 14th residency. Musicians included Jonny Lam (steel), Scotty Wray (guitar), Boo Massey (guitar) and Mike Rinne (bass). Although the evening lacked drums, Lambert brought out a tambourine and washboard to keep tempo at times.
Three similar, intimate concert events will invite fans “into their living room to hang, talk, laugh and commiserate” surrounding the 14-track album’s release, which has also been revealed to fans throughout this week via an old school postcard campaign. Tickets go on sale on Friday, Oct. 5 for three dates: Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on Oct. 25, NYC’s The Town Hall on Nov. 2 and Los Angeles’ The Novo on Nov. 7. Additionally, the trio will play at BMI’s Maui songwriter festival between Nov. 29-Dec. 1.
Interstate Gospel Track Listing
1. Interstate Prelude
2. Stop Drop and Roll One (Lambert, Monroe and Presley)
3. Best Years of My Life (Lambert, Monroe and Presley)
4. 5 Acres of Turnips (Lambert, Monroe and Presley)
5. When I Was His Wife (Lambert, Monroe and Presley)
6. Cheyenne (Lambert, Monroe and Presley)
7. Got My Name Changed Back (Lambert, Monroe and Presley)
8. Sugar Daddy (Lambert, Monroe and Presley)
9. Leavers Lullaby (Lambert, Monroe and Presley)
10. Milkman (Lambert, Monroe and Presley)
11. Commissary (Lambert, Monroe and Presley)
12. Masterpiece (Lambert, Monroe and Presley)
13. Interstate Gospel (Lambert, Monroe and Presley)
14. This Too Shall Pass (Monroe and Presley)
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