“We hope to set a very bad example for all of you tonight,” egged Miranda Lambert from centerstage of country music’s mother church The Ryman Auditorium Thursday night (Oct. 25).
Together, Lambert (Lonestar Annie) and her Pistol Annies cohorts Angaleena Presley (Holler Annie) and Ashley Monroe (Hippie Annie), performed their first full show in nearly seven years, offering songs from the Pistol Annies’ upcoming third album, Interstate Gospel, which arrives Nov. 2.
In truth, as the three talented women played a sold-out show at one of Nashville’s most cherished concert halls, before a largely female audience, Pistol Annies set a very good example of what country fans—particularly female fans—want to hear.
Perhaps the show’s zenith came with a moment of glorious unity during the anthem “Girls Like Us,” as Lambert, Monroe and Presley linked hands and raised them high in a show of solidarity and praise for honest, hardworking, hard-loving women.
No need for pyrotechnics, just three fully-competent artists fusing their talents and road-weathered life stories into flawless harmony.
They offered the first song the trio ever sang together with “Lemon Drop,” as well as several tracks from the new album including “Milkman,” “Sugar Daddy,” and the title track, which they said was “inspired by Jesus.”
For just over an hour, the trio tackled divorce, dead-end marriages, temptation and liberation, though they let the music do most of the talking (and scourging).
“We’ve had two husbands, two ex-husbands, two babies, one on the way, and 25 animals,” Lambert said. “Needless to say, we’ve lived a lot of life and some of it was happy and some of it was ‘Unhappily Married.’”
In introducing the resilient, independent “Got My Name Changed Back,” Presley cautioned, “This song is not about anyone in this band; it was very difficult for us to write about this,” to which Lambert retorted, “She’s full of shit.”
Another fiery moment came a few songs into the evening, during a tender take on the new track “Cheyenne,” when a slightly unruly concertgoer made her way to the front of the stage. After ushers could not convince the attendee to return to her seat, Lone Star Annie took control.
“Alright, I’m not gonna have you stealing our show tonight. You’re gonna have to go sit down,” she told the woman. “This is our night right here, sorry.” Ultimately, Lambert walked to the front of the stage, taking the woman’s hand and leading her out of the front row area.
Lambert donned a washboard for a track from 2013’s Annie Up, “Damn Thing,” while “I Feel A Sin Comin’ On” was punctuated with snaps and the full-throated singing of a rapturous audience.
They thrilled the crowd and earned a standing ovation from sing-alongs on “Takin’ Pills” and the sultry “Hell On Heels,” from the 2011 album of the same name.
The evening’s lone cover song honored Elvis Presley, “the one man we all want to marry,” according to Lambert. With that, the trio offered a stunning rendition to Elvis’ 1956 song “Love Me.”
The show closed on a blissful note as Monroe took the lead on the romantic “I Hope You’re The End Of My Story,” which she called her wedding song. Given all the love, heartache, and life Pistol Annies packed into their too-brief headlining show, there are plenty more tales where that came from.
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