Right from the offset it is clear this album takes us back to authentic Country music. Interstate Prelude which lasts just over a minute introduces us to the traditional instrumentation we commonly associate with classic Country. Track 2 Stop Drop and Roll One begins with beautiful harmonies from the three Annie’s. When the three unique voices come together it really is music to your ears, they blend and compliment each other so well and track two also introduces some of the themes that we’ve heard before from these three ladies in their solo records, you can get the gist from the part of the title “roll one.” I love the production on Best Years of my Life, that guitar riff at the start for some reason made me think of the beginning of Wichita Lineman. Ashley Monroe starts off this ballad before Angaleena continues the first verse and Lonestar Annie (Lambert) takes the chorus into verse 2. This is definitely one of the highlights on the album for me personally.
The group, which is known for talking about it’s small town dramas stay true to form, they discuss marriage and divorce - probably drawing on personal experience - and the occasional but noticeable reference to marijuana. And although it’s the albums lyrics coupled with the rootsy, intimate production that really inspires, the change of time signature in 5 Acres of Turnips from 4/4 to 6/8 and back again was a pleasant surprise and something you don’t hear a lot of in Country Music. One of the attractive things about this super group is the humour they add to their songs, there is slightly less of that on this record than in previous releases by the trio and there is less feistiness, however in the song When I Was His Wife there is an element of sadness coupled with a smirk.
Another ballad forms in the shape of Cheyenne which shifts perspective as they talk in 3rd person and as Miranda Lambert opens this song her vocals seem to quiver as she tells the story of this girl. The majority of the song is lead by Miranda but the occasional harmonies Presley and Monroe add are very effective. The album then goes up a notch when Miranda Lambert once again takes the lead on the comical Got My Name Changed Back, you can watch the video of this on the homepage of our website. The vibe in Sugar Daddy is quite different from the rest of the record and very different from the track that follows. Leavers Lullaby is soft and sweet as you would expect a lullaby to be, it is tinged with sadness and Monroe’s vocals suit this delicate song so well, the line “There’d be no such thing as leaving if just loving somebody was enough” rings true. I’m not really a fan of brass instruments but I really like the use of them in this song.
I love the storytelling and imagery in Milkman and the generational differences that’s pointed out in these lyrics. The simplicity and sparseness of the production shines a spotlight on the three girls vocals, their harmonies and the lyrics they sing. In Commissary Angaleena takes the lead and again it’s another sad number perhaps about a sibling who’s gone astray. It’s nice to hear each Annie who are all successful solo singers in their own right (depending on how you measure success) take the lead at different points throughout the album. Masterpiece is one that miranda takes the lead on and the imagery in this 6/8 track is just beautiful, referring to this couple and this break up in terms of a picture on the wall and a rodeo. The penultimate song of the record, the title track is more upbeat, it has a very traditional country vibe to it and of course discusses a common theme - religion. The three Annie’s take it in turn to take the lead throughout this track. The final track This Too Shall Pass is a positive note on love, mostly lead by Holler Annie - Angaleena who sings “We get each other high, We make each other try, Make each other want to cry” at the start of the chorus.
With almost every song on the record written by Miranda, Ashley and Angaleena this collection of songs forms perhaps the supergroups most personal and raw album to date. There’s a little less “pistol” in this record than in previous albums but the three girls are still very much in touch with their true feelings and never take themselves and their stories too seriously allowing that little bit of humour to sneak in to the heartbreak. Their use of the traditional sound should be applauded and the three producers should be proud of their handy work! It’s a slow burn in terms of hooks, there isn’t an array of songs that will get stuck in your head on first listen but lyrically it leaves a lasting impression.