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Hell On Heels

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Album Review

Relieving the pressure of delivering her eagerly awaited fourth album, Miranda Lambert formed the Pistol Annies with Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley, two similarly minded singer/songwriters whose profile doesn’t come close to matching hers. Lambert may be the star, but she’s not the leader in Pistol Annies, who are a remarkably democratic supergroup, sharing leads and writing songs where the spotlight shifts from one singer to another. Often, the group’s spare, simple arrangements, acoustic underpinning, and wry wit recall the Dixie Chicks, but the Pistol Annies' sensibilities are more straightforward than the Chicks; they don’t bend genres or delve into bluegrass, and the focus remains on the song. And Hell on Heels, their quickly recorded and released 2011 debut appearing just months before Lambert's Four the Record, is filled with excellent songs, tunes that aren’t flashy but are deceptive, built on strong bones, and delivered with a clever flair. There’s a lightness to Hell on Heels that wasn’t apparent on Revolution - it’s clear that collaboration has liberated Lambert, she’s not having to deal with the expectations of a major artist, but rather gets to cut loose and have fun, something that winds up reaffirming her status as a major artist. She tosses off songs with casual confidence while introducing the larger world to two fine singer/songwriters in Monroe and Presley. Miranda’s career will certainly thrive, and Ashley and Angaleena may go on to their own success, but with any luck, Pistol Annies is not a one-off for the trio, but rather a regular gig: this is too much pure fun to not repeat.

Biography

Formed: 2011 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Country

Years Active: '10s

While working on songs for her third album, Revolution, Miranda Lambert turned to fellow country singer Ashley Monroe for help. The girls wrote two songs together, including the number one single “Heart Like Mine,” and decided to keep collaborating after the album’s release. Angaleena Presley later joined the songwriting sessions, too, turning what began as a standards collaboration into a sort of countrified girl group. Dubbing themselves the Pistol Annies, the three developed a spunky, harmony-heavy...
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Hell On Heels, Pistol Annies
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