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Pistol Annies: a new direction in country?

Jeffrey Remz  |  June 24, 2011

Is the country music scene going the way of other genres where artists develop side projects or in effect have multiple careers going?

If so, then maybe "blame" Miranda Lambert for being the catalyst.

Lambert just announced Thursday night that her trio, called Pistol Annies, signed a record contract. Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley inked may have inked with Sony, which is Lambert's label. That was not a surprise because Lambert has enjoyed success there, and why tinker with the devil you know?

I have listened a bit to Pistol Annies on youTube - they made their debut in April with Hell on Heels. They mine a traditional sound, far more than the rocking bent of Lambert, who sometimes veers towards a more traditional country sound. P>There isn't a lot of music out there from the group just yet.

As for her compadres, Monroe has had middling success. She released a few singles on Sony, which never broke into the top 35. With that, she and Sony went their separate ways. Sony later released the disc anyway - after all, if you've already put some bucks into an artist, why not try to at least recoup some of the money spent in the digital age where the costs are exceedingly minimal to make it happen? Monroe also has sung with other artists like The Raconteurs and Wanda Jackson.

Presley apparently is a newcomer from Kentucky.

Lambert is known as "Lonestar Annie," Monroe "Hippie Annie," and Presley as "Holler Annie."

Besides a group with talent, they do have a cool name. Pistol Annies signifies toughness, chicks who you don't want to mess with. The song titles of a few songs the group has performed - the single Hell on Heels, One's Drinking, One's Smoking, One's Taking Pills and Boys From the South indicate that.

This would not be the first time it's happened in the country realm. Of course, there was The Highwaymen with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. Dolly Parton grouped with Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton to form Trio, which released a few albums. But such groups are far and few in between. The Courtyard Hounds, featuring two-thirds of the Dixie Chicks, released a good disc last year.

In other genres, it is far more common. The Travelin Wilburys were a great band with country roots actually. Mick Jagger just formed a true supergroup, SuperHeavy, with Joss Stone, Damian Marley, Dave Stewart composer A.R. Rahman ("Slumdog Millionaire"). Playing in multiple bands seems to be part of the territory these days in music where artists are doing different types of music with their career.

That hasn't been the case with country music, but Pistol Annies could be onto something. With a bit of success, how about a tour with Blake Shelton, Lambert and Pistol Annies?

Good luck to The Pistol Annies. May they live up to their name.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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