Album Review: Pistol Annies - Annie Up

With Annie Up the Pistol Annies prove that Hell On Heels was no one-off side project for Miranda. Instead, it's an album that showcases the collective effort of band making an impact in their own way, gloriously without worrying about what radio may or may not play.

Lead single "Hush Hush" is awash in bluesy melodies as the trio (Angaleena first, Miranda second and finally Ashley). Anyone who is from a family which begrudgingly gets along during the holidays will certainly relate to "Hush Hush." Honestly, everyone knows of a family like this. "Being Pretty Ain't Pretty" finds Holler Annie singing the lead vocals of the verses with Miranda and Ashley joining in for the harmonic verses. "Unhappily Married" is a story song with quiet melodies on the verses and emotional outbursts in the chorus. Each of the Annies sings a verse. It's an interesting song in the sense that the song showcases an artistic nod to minimalist garage rock of bands like The Black Keys.

Every track on Annie Up was written by two or three of the Annies except "Loved By A Workin' Man," another showcase for Angaleena's voice. "Loved By A Workin' Man" is also a song many country girls will relate to as the song describes the man in their life. The melody is interesting in that it's more rock-leaning than one might expect to hear from the Pistol Annies but it's also different from the rock-inspired songs peppering the airwaves of Country Radio. "Blues, You're A Buzzkill" showcases Ashley Monroe's strong, traditional country voice as she sings the lead vocals throughout the track. Miranda's lead vocal showcase is "Don't Talk About Him, Tina," a song which is different from her own solo work to make you know you're listening to Pistol Annies and not Miranda's own records.

Each of the Annies take leads on ("Trading One Heartbreak For Another", "Dear Sobriety" and "Damn Thing"). "Dear Sobriety" is the best of the bunch, a heartbreaking look at a woman singing to and looking for sobriety, to get out of the family demon ties that bind her to being the town drunk. The album's final two tracks on the album "Girls Like Us," showcase the trio swapping vocals while proclaiming "Girls like us make the world go around." The melody of the song is interesting in that it showcases the trio working within a traditional song mindset but instead of being expressly a Traditional Country sound, the production and harmonies have as much Classic Rock sounds as Traditional Country. "I Hope You're The End Of My Story" is a great Traditional Country song about finding true love.  

The great thing about the Pistol Annies is that it's a true collaborative record. All three members of the trio are capable (and successful) solo artists in their own right but together they make beautiful, beautiful music .What was once deemed as a 'side project' for Miranda between her own albums has blossomed into a buzz worthy, fantastic artistic endeavor. I wouldn't be surprised to see Annie Up garnering praise on year-end best-of lists and perhaps have Grammy and Country Music award shows calling with multiple nominations. 

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