OFFSTAGE: Kelly Clarkson Picks Pistol Annies

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Who is it that’s making Kelly Clarkson love country music today? Pistol Annies — the new all-girl trio with Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley. Clarkson says their debut song, “Hell on Heels,” is her favorite country one right now. “There hasn’t been a girl group in country, sounding like that in a while, and I love it. It’s almost like a throwback to the Judds. It’s dirtier, which I like.”

It was Reba McEntire’s “Read My Mind” that made Clarkson want to sing. “Growing up, my mom is a single parent; it was just a really hard life. It was really great, but really hard. When I was a kid, for whatever reason, [Reba’s] voice sounded like home. It sounds super cheesy, but it was one of those things that for some reason it was kind of my safe place,” Clarkson told Entertainment Weekly . “I have a very hard time communicating sometimes, especially if it’s something to do with relationships, whether it’s friends or boyfriends or whatever. I think that that song was just everything that I’ve ever felt if you like someone.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.