OFFSTAGE: Pistol Annies Talk First Songs and Good Moods

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At Tuesday night’s (Oct. 30) BMI Country Awards in Nashville, I had the chance to catch up with the Pistol Annies. And when a band comes together like they did and has such a natural gift for writing genuine country songs, I had to know what songs kicked off their collective talents. Fortunately, all three Annies — Miranda Lambert, Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe — have vivid memories of the first tunes they wrote.

“I started when I was about 14, and wrote half of one,” Lambert told me. “But the very first song I finished was when I was 17, and it was called ‘Take Me Back to Texas.’ It wasn’t very good.”

Presley took a stab at it when she was a teenager, too.

“I was probably 16, and I wrote one called ‘Fairy Tale Land,’ and it was about me moving away and going to college and leaving your parents,” she said. “It was awful. I would die if anyone heard it.” Referring to Loretta Lynn‘s first single, she added, “It was no ‘Honky Tonk Girl,’ that’s for sure.”

Monroe recalls her first attempt having a lot of blanks.

“It was called ‘I Need You More Every Day,’” she said. “I kept filling in the blanks with ‘Oh, I.’ So it had a zillion ‘Oh I’s’ in it.”

But what they love now, when they’re all in good moods anyway, is Little Big Town‘s “Pontoon.” Lambert told me she played that one all summer long because she was in a good place.

“But when songs are about how everything is perfect all the time, it starts to gets on your nerves a little bit,” she said.

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