On This Day: The Pistol Annies Release Their Debut Album ‘Hell on Heels’ in 2011

by Clayton Edwards
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Miranda Lambert, Angaleena Presley, and Ashley Monroe came together to form The Pistol Annies in 2011. They gave their first performance in April of that year on the Academy of Country Music’s Girls’ Night Out: Superstar Women of Country special. Then, about four months later, the Annies dropped their debut album Hell on Heels. Today, that album turns ten years old.

The Pistol Annies started their career together with a bang. With very little promotion, their debut effort, Hell on Hells shot to the top of Billboard’s country album chart. In fact, it debuted in the top spot. At the same time, the album found its mark at number five on the Billboard 200 chart.

Since Hell on Heels, the Pistol Annies have dropped two more studio records. Annie Up hit shelves in 2013. That record peaked at number two on the Billboard Country Albums chart proving that their debut effort wasn’t just a flash in the pan. Most recently, the Annies released Interstate Gospel in 2018 which became another chart-topping record for the group.

The Pistol Annies may be working on new material. In May of this year, Ashley Monroe dropped Rosegold. To celebrate, Miranda Lambert made a post about it on her Instagram. This led one fan to inquire about new music from the trio. Lambert replied, saying, “We’ve got something up our sleeve,” according to CMT.

However, Ashley Monroe made a sad announcement in mid-July that may put the Pistol Annies on hold. On July 13, Monroe told her fans that she was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer. The singer was diagnosed with Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia and said she would be starting chemotherapy later that week.

Looking Back at The Pistol Annies’ Debut Release

The ladies of the Annies are representatives of three of country music’s most important regions. Miranda Lambert carries the heart of Texas dancehalls with her. Ashley Monroe, on the other hand, hails from Tennessee and brings that distinctive Nashville sound to the band. Finally, Angeleena Presley’s sound is steeped in the bluegrass sounds of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. However, Hell on Heels doesn’t sound like a hodgepodge of genres. Instead, the Pistol Annies create a sound that is pure country, from beginning to end.

With Hell on Heels, the Pistol Annies delivered something that is largely absent in modern country music – strong feminine energy. Lambert, Presley, and Monroe shared writing duties on the entire record. As a result, their debut release is a representation of the strengths of each of the band’s members.

It is interesting to note that The Pistol Annies released the title track from this album as the lead single. It failed to make the Billboard Country Singles chart. However, it is currently certified Platinum.

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