The Pistol Annies are back with their amazing new album ‘Interstate Gospel’. Members of the Belles and Gals team have got together to write an ‘in the round’ review, where several team members get together and write about a particular song that is close to their heart. Here’s our look at ‘Interstate Gospel’
Best Years of My Life – Lesley Hastings (twitter.com/lesleyhastings)
With these three fabulous artists well known for their sass, wit and amusing lyrics it’s sometimes easy to overlook their more poignant writes.
One of the five tracks made available pre-release date, “ Best Years Of My Life” grabbed my attention immediately and remains my favourite on the album.
This slow heartbreaker of a song has an air of resignation about it not only because of the lyrics but in the way they are conveyed by Ashley, Angaleena and Ashley ( they take a verse each, in that order , and of course their harmonies are as perfect as always ) and the haunting pedal-steel heavy arrangement.
A lament by a married woman who is ironically finding that what should be happy times for her are far from that, it opens with the stunning line “I picked a good day for a recreational percocet” …..a quick google informing me that this narcotic painkiller appropriately has the street name “ Hillbilly Heroin” . I noticed it got a fair few laughs when performed at the Ryman recently and it’s easy to think that the song will go on be another of their more humorous numbers, but that is definitely not the case.
Trapped in a loveless marriage and living in a “ten cent town” watching re-runs on television, the wife’s dreams of staying there forever with her spouse because he asked her to and as she didn’t think a better offer would come along have backfired. Her husband doesn’t even love her and it seems she is hoping that he’ll eventually leave , providing her with the chance to move on. As she is putting on a brave face, “call my mum and tell her everything’s alright” Miranda sings, she can’t be the one to walk away.
Her feelings of worthlessness result in her drinking and popping pills in order to get through the day. Yep, she’s “in the middle of the worst of it “. And sadly I bet there are those who can relate to this song. Fortunately I’m not one of them but still love it and the picture it paints none-the-less.
Masterpiece – Mike Fouts (twitter.com/rossmike15)
Track 12 from Interstate Gospel is the aptly titled, “Masterpiece.” With its forlorn steel guitar, simple melody, and Miranda’s heart wrenching vocals, one can easily imagine hearing this song performed in a deserted, run down dive bar, sung by some unknown, wrung-out trio on the last stop of another tour that failed to pay the bills.
Lyrically, it is a gem that could clearly be autobiographical in nature, when one considers Miranda’s personal (yet, very public) journey of the past several years. From the opening chorus (Baby we were just a masterpiece, up there on the wall for all to see) to Baby we were just a rodeo, shining up our buckles for the show, references to living one’s life in the spotlight are impossible to ignore. As with all timeless music, however, it is a sentiment that is easily accessible to anyone who has felt the need to present a relationship as more positive than it actually was, or who has seen a beautiful relationship fade (Who’s brave enough to take us down).
Even with their successful solo careers, Lonestar, Hippie, and Holler show they have lost nothing as a singing/songwriting team in the five years since their last album, and we hope to hear more from them soon!
Hear what Pistol Annies have to say about the song on their Youtube channel, “Masterpiece: The Story Behind the Song”
Milkman – Shannon Hynes (twitter.com/s_hynesmusic)
As always, I have chosen the most stripped back song on the record, in the case of ‘Interstate Gospel’ it’s ‘Milkman’. I have quite possibly listened to this song 1,836,826 times since the release on Friday, I just can’t get over it, I’m xompletely obsessed! I read a complete misinterpretation of this song via a facebook comment, in which it stated ‘this song is so weird, why would she want her mum to fall in love with a milkman?!’ This comment made me giggle but also it made me think ‘goddamit what a waste of good songwriting!’ ‘Milkman’ has got nothing to do with actually falling in love with the milkman, this is merely a metaphor for the protagonist wishing her mother had lived a little more when she was younger, made some mistakes, got a little reckless. The final verse in which the wonderous Ashley Monroe sings ‘sometimes I think mumma wants to be more like me, but it’s too late, coz her hair’s grey and the years have started showing on her cheeks’. This is something any human, let alone woman can relate to, as getting older is just life. I don’t know about you, but regret of not living whilst I can, is one of my biggest fears. I feel this song is a little reminder of that. The meaning and power of this song is only heightened by the sheer simplicity of the instrumentation. The main and only focus is the lyric, which is gracefully draped by the heavenly three part harmony. These three women together are so admirable, somehow they continue to top themselves. This album is phenomenal and I can’t wait to listen to it over and over and… over again!
Got My Name Changed Back – Nick Cantwell (twitter.com/nickbelles_gals)
I chose this song as I felt it epitomised the comeback of the Pistol Annies. Over the last few weeks we’ve seen the occasional tracks drop, but when the official video for this song came out, it felt like they were truly back. The song, with Miranda Lambert on lead is the Annies at full pelt, with full on sass and attitude. Lyrics such as ‘Well I’ve got me an ex that I adored, But he got along good with a couple road whores‘ shows off that attitude with a healthy slice of humour too. Despite Miranda taking the lead vocals, the song is a co-write between between Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe. This song sees the Pistol Annies with a fantastic confidence and almost a carefree attitude – no it’s not the deepest song on the album, but it’s certainly a fun one. Check out the video below: