Miranda Lambert’s Pistol Annies trio is loaded and ready
It has been a busy year for Miranda Lambert, who married fellow country star Blake Shelton in May and plans to release a new album in November. But somehow, the 27-year-old Nashville Star alumna found time to squeeze in another project: her girl-group debut.
Tuesday is the release date for Hell on Heels, the first album from Pistol Annies, a trio consisting of Lambert and fellow singer/songwriters Ashley Monroe, 24, and Angaleena Presley, 34. Lambert says the group’s sound and approach are planted more firmly in her country roots than her rock-inflected solo fare.
“I like to say that we make housewife music,” Lambert quips. “We write about things that women are thinking but not necessarily saying.”
The Annies came about organically, even whimsically, according to all the members. Lambert and Monroe had been friends and fellow admirers for years when, the latter says, “Miranda and I had this quick idea of starting a band. I played her Angaleena’s music, and she was like, ‘That’s our band! Let’s call her right now!'”
Presley was skeptical. “I was like, ‘You girls are in slumber-party mode.’ But we got together, and this friendship grew, and the songs just came out.”
Lambert describes their camaraderie in geographical terms. “Ang (pronounced ‘Anj’) is from the eastern part of Kentucky, Ashley’s from eastern Tennessee, and I’m from eastern Texas. We’re all country girls, and when we get together, we don’t mince words — especially Ang and me. Ashley is sort of the peacekeeper.”
Presley adds: “Miranda and I are tough girls. Ashley wears flowers in her hair and flowing dresses; she’s all about peace, love and happiness.”
Age is also a factor, Presley says. “Ashley’s the youngest, and Miranda’s in the middle. I’m like the older sister who’s gone off to college and been married and divorced and has all these hard-knock-life stories.”
In fact, Presley “was going through a divorce when I met Miranda. There’s a song on the album, Housewife’s Prayer, about that time in my life. I was literally thinking about how to burn my house down and not get caught.”
The eldest Annie is more content these days: She’s engaged to the group’s tour manager, Jordan Powell. While she and Monroe travel with Lambert — the Annies have performed in the middle of her concert set recently — Presley also is accompanied by her son, Jed, 4.
“He’s a little road warrior,” she says. “He sleeps till noon, then gets up and eats a protein bar, and he’s ready to rock.”
Monroe is more discreet about her personal life, not wishing to disclose her boyfriend’s name. But Lambert speaks giddily about Shelton, gushing that married life “is awesome. It’s great to know someone always has your back. There are not many like (Shelton). I’m glad I snagged him.”
Lambert would like to have children eventually, though she and Shelton, 35, now reserve their parental affection for seven rescue dogs. “They’re our kids right now. We’re both thriving in our careers.”
Indeed, Lambert is gearing up to release Four the Record on Nov. 1. (Monroe also has an album in the works, while Presley is seeking a label for her self-titled effort.) She has other ventures in mind as well, including starting a line of cowboy boots. “I want to build an empire, so whatever opportunities come my way, I’m ready.”
Mind you, Mrs. Blake Shelton also is looking forward to some downtime with her spouse later this year, at home in Oklahoma. “Things usually slow down after Thanksgiving,” she says. “We both have farms, and it’ll be nice to go fishing and hunting and just be normal.”