Pistol Annies
Randee St. Nicholas

Let's talk about the songs. "I Feel A Sin Comin' On" has a gospel vibe to it, but the content is anything but gospel.

Ashley: It's raunch gospel.

Angaleena: Christian girls gone wild.

Ashley: We wrote that a capella, just snapping [fingers], we thought, 'should we make it big band,' like Ray Charles, we wanted horns. Frank's like, "horns? Really?"

Miranda: Getting' us to snap on time, that was interesting.

How are you gonna do that live? Are you that damn good at snapping?

Ashley: (laughing) What are we gonna do?

"Hush Hush" is such a great family dynamic.

Miranda: That was so much fun, because already people are saying, "oh my god, that's my family, my brother just got out of rehab, too!"

I like the line about sneaking out behind the barn to spark one.

Miranda: [Ashley] had to actually confess that to her grandparents.

Ashley: Well, they have the red barn, so I kinda gave myself away.

Where did "Being Pretty Ain't Pretty" come from?

Ashley: I had written a tweet one time about how I went and bought a bunch of makeup, then I went and bought a bunch of makeup remover, about a zillion dollars worth of each, cause when I get home, it's all coming off. We can't wait to get it off.

Angaleena: That's true for every woman, not just in show business. It's like we have to wear war paint. Men don't.

Miranda: So why do we?

Do you find it surprising that so many men, like myself, relate to your music?

Miranda: That's awesome, because there's a lot of girl issues attacked on this record.

Ashley: But we do see cowboys with a beer in their hands singin' "I'm Hell On Heels."

Angaleena: We factored in writin' this stuff, we're like, "what else can we make these boys sing?"

All three (singing): Bein' pretty ain't pretty.

Angaleena: I can't wait to see some big, tall Oklahoma cowboy singin' that at the top of his lungs.

"Unhappily Married" surely will make a lot of people feel better about their lives.

Angaleena: That's the message of that song, "it might suck, but we're stayin' together, by god." You can dance to it!

Tell me about "Loved by a Workin' Man."

Angaleena: I wrote that song a long time ago. When I first moved here, I dated this boy who worked on the railroad, he drove a big Chevy truck with a lift kit on it, and we'd go up in the hills and go muddin'. One night he got his truck stuck and literally it sank down, and we had to get a backhoe to come up there and get it out. That guy, he's my dad, he's their dad, he's our uncles.

"Dear Sobriety" is one of the linchpins of this record.

Miranda: I was actually pouring a drink of Bacardi and turned around to Ashley and said, 'dear sobriety!' She's like, 'what about it?'

Ashley: It was the same night we called Angeleena (to join the group), actually. We wrote 'Beige,' which was on our first record, and we wrote 'Dear Sobriety' that same night.

Miranda: We were thinking "where are these songs are gonna fit?" We had already been listening to [Presley's] records. Me and [Monroe] went campin' in my Airstream all by ourselves, and we were like, we have got to do something with these songs. "Dear Sobriety" and "Beige," they have to be sung by full on women women. So we were like, "hey, you wanna be in a girl band?"

Ashley: But we didn't put "Dear Sobriety" on our first record, and our manager was kept saying, "that's very special, you need to do this." Obviously, it stuck out to us, too, it was just a serious topic. But as soon as it started laying down it was, "oh my god."

Angaleena: It's a "hide the razor blades" kinda song.

"Don't Talk About It Tina" is an unusual song, starting with the title.

Angaleena: Channeling Natalie Maines, channeling Natalie Maines.
 
Miranda: I hear this and I hear the first two records of the Dixie Chicks. That's obviously an influence on all of us.  My friend Tina is a cowgirl from Oklahoma, and she was out on the road with this…oh god, do we have to tell this whole story again?

Ashley: We'll make it real fast, tell him about Mother Bra.

Angaleena: There's this woman, and she's like the fourth Annie, and her name is Mother Bra. I had never done anything like this and our stylist was like, 'you've gotta go get you a good, durable new bra,' 'cause I have huge boobs. So I got this hideous, four-hooked, harness, this beige thing that my boobs are wrangled in at all times. But Mother Bra has a mind of her own. Like we were in Mexico and woke up and she was floatin' on top of the pool.

Miranda: Ang gets drunk in Mother Bra.

Ashley: So we blame it on Mother Bra.

Angaleena: Mother Bra has all these adventures and she winds up in the weirdest places. So Tina was on the road with us—

Ashley: She's a good Christian lady, sends us Bible verses every day, mother of two, great wife.

Angaleena: —and ol' Mother Bra was just laid out on the stove, she walked through there and picked it up and said, whose is this?' And I grabbed it and said, 'Don't talk about it, Tina,' and we started sayin' that about everything.
 
Miranda: We finally just said, 'can't we just write this and get it over with?'
 
Angaleena: But the song turned out to be about girlfriends, going out the bar, havin' each other's backs, 'get over it girl, there's more people out there.' So it started out about Mother Bra and it ended up being about good ol' girls like Tina, salt of the earth, you've just gotta have their backs.

"Trading One Heartbreak For Another" will probably be helpful to some people out there.

Ashley: I think so, too, I can't wait for people to hear that. I played it for a friend of mine who is recently divorced and she just bawled, but she said, 'that's perfectly put.' Ang was goin' through a divorce, and how old was [her son] at the time?

Angaleena: Almost three. And every word of it is true. My husband was awful, and it was such an awful situation. But to leave that situation, I had to break my baby's heart, and that broke my heart even worse than my husband broke my heart. I can see why people stay in bad marriages, because I can't stand to see him goin' through that.

How hard will it be to sing that song night after night?

Miranda: She'll probably only cry once a weekend, like I do with 'The House That Built Me.'"

Ashley: And every time she cries, we'll just bawl.

Angaleena: If you're not moved by your own song that came from your guts, then you've lost your passion. Ashley came in that day [to record] and I didn't say a word, just 'this is what we're gonna do.'

Ashley: She didn't have a hook, so I said, "I'm finally alive but it's killing who you're livin' for."

Angaleena: That's the kinda shit she says, you little genius.

"I Hope You're the End of My Story" is probably the most romantic song Annies have done.

Ashley: We were on the bus, and I'm normally always the first one on the bus to take it all off and get in my pajamas. Then I'll get real inspired, and they came up there and I was like, "guys, I don't know, [sings], 'I hope you're the end of my story.'"

Angaleena: It was like all of the air was sucked outta the bus. Stop, Ashley Monroe!

What are your expectations for this record?

Ashley: We hope that it will be accepted, and that people will listen to it from the first track to the last track, as a whole record, and relate to it, that they can find something of themselves in it.

Angaleena: We wanna make all the money and win all the awards.

Ashley: It's like Willie said, it's like labor pains, when you have songs and music to share, you have to do it.

Miranda: We birthed it. Her name's "Annie Up," we hope you like her.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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