Another week, more songs. :) For this week's feature it's a bit of a mixed bag, featuring a new song and a few older ones. I feature a new Pistol Annies song, which inspired me to allow you all to explore songs from the other two "Annies" besides Miranda. Most people are familiar with Miranda Lambert's catalogue, but few are familiar with Angaleena Presley's and Ashley Monroe's. I also feature songs from Holly Williams and Lindi Ortega. I hope you enjoy!
Ashley Monroe's "Orphan" - A cut from Monroe's Sparrow album, released earlier this year, though we first heard this song when Ashley played it live in London in 2016, shortly after writing the song. The production on the song has changed a bit by the time it made it on 2018's Sparrow, but it's still just as beautiful and haunting, though I prefer the original live version simply because I love the stripped down production of 3 instruments and Ashley's vocals truly shines and takes on a haunted quality. I also prefer the original live version because I love the fiddle solo, the way it cries and wails, it's breathtaking.
Other Highlights from Monroe: "Hank's Cadillac", "Like A Rose", "Used", "You Got Me", "She's Driving Me Out of Your Mind", "I Buried Your Love Alive", "The Blade", "Winning Streak", "If The Devil Don't Want Me", "Has Anybody Ever Told You", "Hard On a Heart", "Rita", "Wild Love", "She Wakes Me Up", and "Keys to the Kingdom".
Angaleena Presley's "Only Blood" - This song is a deep cut from Presley's 2017 album, Wrangled, co written by Chris Stapleton. The song features a traditional country production with the cry of that steel guitar and Morgane Stapleton on backing vocals. It carries an ominous mood, as it tells the story of an abused young woman married to preacher who doesn't practice what he preaches. She has a long talk with Jesus and decides to take matters into her own hands, deciding that "only blood" will set her free. I love a good, dark murder ballad and this one hits all the right spots.
Other highlights from Presley include: "All I Ever Wanted", "American Middle Class", "Pain Pills", "Mama I Tried", and "Dreams Don't Come True".
The Pistol Annies' "Best Years of My Life" - The Annies are back with new music after a 5 year hiatus, and I can't tell you how happy I am to have new Annies music in my ears! The trio recently dropped three new tracks ahead of their brand new album, set to release in early November. The highlight of the three is "Best Years of My Life".
More Highlights from the Pistol Annies: "Hell on Heels", "Beige", "Housewife's Prayer", "Takin' Pills", "Trailer For Rent", "Hush Hush", "Unhappily Married", "Dear Sobriety", and "Damn Thing".
Holly Williams' "Alone" - An album cut from Holly's 2009 record, Here With Me, "Alone" is a beautiful piano driven song that finds Holly contemplating the state of her heart. She wonders if she's too scared of getting hurt, of falling too hard only to find out that someone won't catch her, maybe that's why she's played it so safe with her heart, but then wonders, what if she ends up alone because of it. Is love worth the risk of pain and failure? Is she willing to risk it all? Is her heart up for it? She concludes that "if I don't try I won't know," that she wants to break free and that she doesn't want to end up alone. It's a beautiful song and Holly sings it with conviction. It's one of my favorites from Holly.
Other Highlights from Holly: "Without Jesus Here with Me", "Gone Away From Me", "Railroads", "Without You", "A Good Man", and "Waiting on June".
Lindi Ortega's "Hard As This" - An album cut from Lindi's 2013 record, Tin Star, "Hard As This" is a rollicking number with a Spaghetti western feel to the production. The real star of this show are the poetic lyrics. The song finds the narrator deciding that love really should be as hard as it is in her current relationship. She's given up on it. With lyrics like "If you need space, take a trip/ hijack you a ride on a rocket ship/ hang out with some constellations/ get yourself some isolation, babe," and "If you need time, here's a clock/ you can sit alone at night, and listen to it tick and talk/ if it stops, wind it up/ I'll be somewhere givin' up on you," Lindi, who co-wrote the song, shows off her songwriting prowess and ability to turn a good phrase. It's a fun song with some intellectual aspects to it. This is the smart, top notch material coming out of the Americana genre that is drawing country fans in droves.
Other Highlights from Lindi: "Tin Star", "Lived and Died Alone", "This Is Not Surreal", "All These Cats", "Little Red Boots", "Ashes", "Comeback Kid", "Darkness Be Gone", and her stunningly haunting cover of "Waiting Around to Die".
Hope you all enjoyed this week's What I'm Listening To! If you'd like to catch up on past recommendations from me, check out my Spotify playlist. And hey! Let me know what you're listening to. ;)
Born and raised in Upstate NY, Liz is a freelance writer. She has written for websites, blogs, and magazines for the last 10 years. She works as a freelance writer and editor, as well as a proofreader and beta reader for several authors, all the while working on her first book.