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Cellist Neyla Pekarek, formerly of The Lumineers, has released “Better Than Annie,” the second track from her forthcoming solo debut, premiering right here at Paste.
Pekarek’s first solo album, Rattlesnake is a concept album exploring the story of “Rattlesnake Kate,” a 20th-century heroine who is said to have fought off 140 rattlesnakes and lived to tell the tale. “Better Than Annie” is a lively take on what might have happened had the legendary Annie Oakley and Kate crossed paths, imagining a rivalry between the two.
In it, Kate insists that she’s better that Oakley (“But Oakley, she’s got nothing on me / Throw her in a snake pit and you’ll see what I mean”) before eventually acknowledging the former’s talent, in what becomes a kind of feminist, women-encouraging-women anthem appropriate for 2018. It’s playful, confident and a fun change of pace to hear Kate realize that the presence of one woman’s glory doesn’t need to mean an absence of her own.
“Western history is so often dominated by the stories of men, and while those are fascinating tales, many stories of Western women have gone untold,” Pekarek tells Paste. “As I share the story of Rattlesnake Kate, more times than I can count, someone remarks, ‘Oh, just like Annie Oakley,’ and while Annie Oakley was certainly a remarkable person, she was a DIFFERENT person, who lived at a different time period with a different story to tell. And I thought it was unfair to sum all western women’s stories up by just one woman’s experience.”
“Better Than Annie” follows “Train,” the album’s lead single, released last month. Rattlesnake was produced by Matt Ward (M. Ward, She & Him, Monsters of Folk) and is scheduled for release on Jan. 11, 2019, via S-Curve Records
Check out Pekarek’s new single below and and revisit a 2012 SXSW performance by The Lumineers from the Paste archives further down, along with the details of Rattlesnake.
02. The Attack
03. Better Than Annie
04. Letters To The Colonel (feat. Brian Cronan)
06. Brownie: Ode To A Horse
07. The Perfect Gown
09. Hold On Tight
10. I’m A Scoundrel (feat. Brian Cronan)
11. Swearing You Off
13. Western Woman
Rattlesnake Album Art: