National MusicReviews

Album Review: Pistol Annies – ‘Interstate Gospel’

Forget the frat-boy country tropes of drinking in the back of a pickup and falling in lust with an all-American girl. Real country music’s always belonged to women. The Pistol Annies are here to remind you of that. The group, comprised of country superstars Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley, released their third studio album Interstate Gospel on Friday, and it’s everything you could have hoped for. With Interstate Gospel, the Annies deliver a pure country album full of heart, sass and just a little bit of spite.

The album finds the Annies navigating the aftermath of divorce. From the emotional (“Best Years of My Life”) to the practical (“Got My Name Changed Back”) to wishing your mother would have had an affair so she’d stop being so judgmental of your life choices (“Milkman”), the album tracks it all.

The centerpiece of the album, “When I Was His Wife” offers equal parts heart and dark humor. The Annies’ chemistry is palpable and hypnotic and even more impressive when you learn the song was written over cell phones while the Annies were apart.

Playfulness and humor dominate on tracks like “Sugar Daddy” and “Got My Name Changed Back”, where nothing is overthought. The tracks are pure fun hiding occasional blisters of scathing truth. Take “Name Changed Back” for example: “Well I’ve got me an ex that I adored / But he got along good with a couple road whores”. Ouch, but also sing it.

But while the upbeat tracks keep you moving with their whimsy and “Ah, snap” shady moments, the slower songs are where the trio’s true powers shine. No one knows how to harmonize or write lyrics like the Annies.

“Masterpiece” showcases their phenomenal songwriting abilities, where each line is quite literally a masterpiece in and of itself. Combined with gorgeous and supernatural harmonies of all three artists, the song stands out on the record. Along with tracks like “Leavers Lullaby”, “5 Acres of Turnips” and “Milkman”, Lambert, Monroe and Presley prove that threes superstars can create magic without letting ego get in the way.

Within the give and take of sass and heartache, Interstate Gospel ends somewhere new with “This Too Shall Pass”. The song finds the Pistol Annies finding their sanctuary among the highs and lows of fame and life in the one place they can always count on: each other. How’s that for the power of friendship?

5/5

Recommended Tracks:

Best Years of My Life
Got My Name Changed Back
Masterpiece

FFO:

Dixie Chicks
Loretta Lynn
Little Big Town

Pick up the album here.

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