(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)
Just when you think a Miranda Lambert show cannot get any more country, she goes and does something like this. She introduces this new band she has assembled, and you start believing in the music all over again. Everything about this girl group she had with her Thursday night (June 23) at Joe’s Bar in Chicago felt so genuine and real. Consisting of Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley, the Pistol Annies are the polar opposite of bands that have been thrown together by some corporate decision makers. In fact, these Pistol Annies feel more like they came together out of a love for singing, songwriting and the kind of lifestyle that seems to be custom-made for country music. When Presley was introducing “Better Days,” she said she got the idea when she had to pull over on the side of the road and tie her muffler to her car with a guitar string. The four Pistol Annies songs they nestled into Lambert’s 90-minute show were enough to give her fans a taste of what to expect from this new Dixie Chickesque band. Monroe had a chance to be the front girl on “One’s Drinking, One’s Smoking, One’s Taking Pills,” and I could’ve sworn Loretta Lynn had taken over the mic. Right after that, Lambert said, “We’re the Pistol Annies, and it doesn’t get more honest than that.” They sang together in three-part harmony on one of the best songs of the night, “Boys From the South,” all about falling for guys with Southern drawls from Texas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and so on. They even added an a cappella line about “Maybe he’s in Chicago, picking his guitar right now.” I don’t know exactly where the group will go from here. I do know you can download their haunting deal-with-the-devil tune “Hell on Heels” next week on iTunes. And Lambert did casually announce during the show that, “We got our very first record deal today,” so I’m expecting big things down the road.