The wait has been a fairly long one for fans of Pistol Annies. The supergroup comprising Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley topped the US Country charts in 2011 with their debut album Hell on Heels. They followed that up with second album Annie Up in 2013 and then the group went on hiatus. At the time the reason given was to do with the success of Lambert and Monroe’s solo careers but fans feared the trio would never reunite. They finally did in 2017 and after a lot of teasing the group has finally released their third studio album Interstate Gospel.
Interstate Gospel highlights just how much the Country genre needs Pistol Annies. Lambert, Monroe and Presley are three artists who are trying to keep tradition within the genre and on this album, the trio forge their own lane. All three artists have recorded non-mainstream albums with their latest solo records and they stick to what they love with Interstate Gospel. There’s no attempt to get radio hits or fit in with the modern sound, and that’s just one of the reasons the group should be admired. Opener Interstate Prelude lets the band set the stage for an album that’s steeped in tradition and gorgeous harmonies.
The album’s lead single, Got My Name Changed Back, is an odd choice to introduce fans to the record. It’s essentially a Miranda Lambert track with Presley and Monroe on backing vocals, which does a disservice to the group. I can understand why it was chosen as the lead single as it’s pretty much the only one likely to pick up any radio play. For my money, it’s one of the weakest songs on the record. Divorce plays a big part of the record and it’s touched upon in the gentle When I Was His Wife and the bluesy reflective Masterpiece.
Elsewhere on the record Stop Drop and Roll One opens with tight harmonies before opening up into a rock-tinged track that sees the ladies having a bit of fun, Sugar Daddy is a feisty tale of finding a man to rinse clean, and Milkman looks at what have been for an uptight mother who never allowed herself to experience much in life.
The standout moment on Interstate Gospel is Best Years of My Life, a reflective track about realising that you need to make a big change in your life. The individual vocals are strong and the harmonies absolutely gorgeous.
Criminally radio will likely ignore Interstate Gospel but that’ll be nothing new for Pistol Annies. What they can rely on is their fans’ support so the album will be a commercial success with or without radio support. At a time where Country feels like it’s at a crossroad and women are fighting back harder than ever, we need the Pistol Annies. Interstate Gospel reminds you of what Country does so well. It’s a collection of honest, heartfelt and reflective tales about life that the listener can relate to.
Track list: 1. Interstate Prelude 2. Stop Drop and Roll One 3. Best Years of My Life 4. 5 Acres of Turnips 5. When I Was His Wife 6. Cheyenne 7. Got My Name Changed Back 8. Sugar Daddy 9. Leavers Lullaby 10. Milkman 11. Commissary 12. Masterpiece Record label: Sony Music Release date: 2nd November 2018 Buy Interstate Gospel