Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 7/10
There seems to be a new revolution in the heartlands of American Country Music. In the same way that in 2012 women led the way in revolutionising Blues to the point that nearly every album released by a woman outweighed the influence of their male counterparts, American Country Music has taken note, learned from the new rules and come up with some scintillating and interesting albums. Kacey Musgroves undoubtedly holds the pivotal position so far of for album of the year in the genre but Pistol Annies, a tight collection of three of the great new things of women of country, give an excellent account of themselves and make the genre such a pleasure at times to listen to.
The follow up to the album Hell on Heels, which was released in 2011, is titled Annie Up, the name giving serious connotations of making the listener think that this is their time at the forefront of the genre, that they are up to take on their counterparts and the rich past from which they take their muse. Whilst it will take an epic album to fall alongside some of those greats of the dim and distant past, the legendary June Carter will surely forever be the poster girl for the genre; this latest influx which has been a few years in the making will surely be breathed, whispered in the same vein.
Pistol Annies is the combined talent of Ashley Monroe, Angaleena Presley and Miranda Lambert and the harmonies they produce, that titillation that country sometimes brings but can fall flat with the high expectation associated it, is full on and an extremely marvellous presentation for only the women’s second album together. Marrying different voices together can be a tricky skill to master, especially if they have not had the years of being around each other that Rock, Punk, Thrash or any other genre can bring.
In Annie Up, perhaps even a play on words on the famous old battle cry of cowboys in the Midwest to saddle up and get ready for adventure which is in keeping with what the listener is getting, the three women produce some excellent songs in which does justice to the past but also paves the way for the future of the genre alongside Kacey Musgroves to be taken seriously this side of the Atlantic again. The well written Hush Hush, the damning Being Pretty Ain’t Pretty, the homage to the past in Unhappily Married and the excellent Dear Sobriety all sit well on the album and make it a desirable album to get to grips with. If the three women can keep producing albums of this quality then there is hope for the genre outside of its native United States.
Ian D. Hall