Pistol Annies

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Hometowns: Lindale, Texas; Knoxville, Tenn.; Nashville, Tenn.
Members: Miranda Lambert (vocals/guitar), Ashley Monroe (vocals/guitar), Angeleena Presley (vocals/guitar)
Album: Hell on Heels
For Fans Of: Dixie Chicks, Lucinda Williams, Sugarland

Blame it all on Snapped. The Oxygen network’s seedy true crime series, which details real-life women who off their significant others, played a significant role in the formation of the Pistol Annies, a country supergroup featuring Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe, and Angeleena Presley. “Snapped is our favorite show,” says Monroe. “We record it and watch it while we’re on tour. We like to pretend we can solve mysteries.”

It was while they were watching Snapped that Monroe had the idea of introducing Lambert to Presley. “One night we were on the couch at her house in Oklahoma, just drinking and hanging out and watching television,” recalls Monroe. “And I said to Miranda—I had these random thoughts all the time—have you ever heard Angeleena Presley.” Following a visit to her Myspace page and a few songs played at wake-the-neighbors volume, they called her up at 2 a.m., and the Pistol Annies were fully cocked and loaded.

While Lambert is the name most listeners will recognize—she’s one of the very few real country artists with crossover appeal into the pop and indie markets—the Pistol Annies remains democratic, with all three high-caliber women contributing to the songwriting and singing. As Monroe explains, “We call Miranda Lone Star Annie, and we call Ange Holler Annie. She’s from East Kentucky and a hillbilly from the holler who makes squirrel gravy. I’m from East Tennessee, really close to the Smoky Mountains. I call myself a hillbilly hippie. I like to meditate while watching Cops.”

More than Cops, Snapped seems like a good show to associate with the trio, who write songs about bad girls, tumultuous relationships, and those moments when you just snap. “Hell on Heels,” the title track from their forthcoming debut, tells of three gold diggers rattling off the prizes from their conquests, with a chorus that delivers both a promise and a threat: “I’m hell on heels / Baby, I’m coming for you.”

They’re much more down-to-earth on “Housewife’s Prayer,” which begins with the memorable line, “I’ve been thinking about setting this house on fire.” It’s not strictly autobiographical, but it does draw from each of the Annies’ own family experiences. “All the songs talk about issues that are real to us,” Monroe explains. “I watched my mom’s struggles as a single parent after my dad died, and I’m sure she has thought about setting the house on fire. And I know Ange has thought it. She was going through a hard time. Miranda has thought about it, too. She grew up really poor. So we can all relate to the woman singing this song.”

What makes them more than simply another supergroup is that fine balance between each woman’s own personality and her Annies identity. “We all have different personalities,” Monroe says, “but you don’t want to mess with any of them because we’re all really strong in who we are.” All three remain solo artists as well as band members: Lambert will release her fourth album in November, and both Monroe and Presley are working on follow-ups to their highly praised debuts. “I want to always have solo music out there and I know the other girls do too,” says Monroe. “We’re just trying to make four out of three.”