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Pistol Annies: "Hell of a Holiday" era

Farawayhills

Well-known member
This will be the Annies' first Christmas album, and it comes after a period of individual creativity on side projects for Miranda and Ashley, exploring areas a little apart from their main label work (Ashley with an EP of covers, and a revival of "Love Hurts", duetting with Ruston Kelly, while Miranda collaborated with long term Texan singer-songwriter friends Jon Randall and Jack Ingram on the traditional-leaning Marfa Tapes.
Angaleena has been busy raising her second child, but, as she often takes lead on the Annies' projects, I imagine she may be back in force for this one.

The Christmas album is entitled "hell of a Holiday", and will be released in October. It will again be a Carnival Music project, produced by Frank Liddell and Eric Masse. this is the tracklist (announced after some advance teasing on Twitter):
"Hell of a Holiday,"
"Snow Globe"
"Harlan County Coal,"
"Come on Christmas Time,"
"If We Make It Through December,"
"Make You Blue,"
"Leanin' on Jesus,"
"Only Thing I Wanted,"
"Believing,"
"Happy Birthday,"
"Sleigh Ride,"
"Joy"
"Auld Lang Syne."

An advance single "Snow Globe" is seemingly being released tonight (Thursday), at Midnight
 

Farawayhills

Well-known member
I should have mentioned that *If We Make It Through December" is a Merle Haggard song from the early 1970s These are the lyrics:
"
If we make it through December
Everything's gonna be all right, I know
It's the coldest time of winter
And I shiver when I see the falling snow
If we make it through December
Got plans to be in a warmer town come summertime
Maybe even California
If we make it through December, we'll be fine

Got laid off down at the factory
And their timing's not the greatest in the world
Heaven knows I been working hard
Wanted Christmas to be right for daddy's girl
I don't mean to hate December
It's meant to be the happy time of year
And my little girl don't understand
Why daddy can't afford no Christmas here

If we make it through December
Everything's gonna be all right, I know
It's the coldest time of winter
And I shiver when I see the falling snow
If we make it through December
Got plans to be in a warmer town come summertime
Maybe even California
If we make it through December, we'll be fine"


I think the tracklist suggests a mixed mood on the album, with some satirical touches (also suggested by the striking design of the album cover, which shows the trio in glamorous dresses, standing in front of stained glass windows, giving them the effect of haloes), combined with more traditional holiday fare like the Ronettes' "Sleigh Bells", some religious references, and some quite serious themes such as the above Haggard song (another reference to socially aware themes may be "Harlan Valley Coal" - which I'm guessing may be an Angaleena-inspired song)
 

Farawayhills

Well-known member
Why would they use the word Hell? Well it is a back reference to their earlier work - but I don't think we should expect this to be quite like some of the cosier run of more predictable albums that tend to populate Country radio throughout the holiday season. As I said, i'm expecting it to have a mixture of moods.

(I would understand if some might be depressed or offended by references they might see as inappropriate for the season - but perhaps we should also remember that there would have been no need for the original Christmas if Hell had not taken hold of so much of human nature)
 

Momin

Well-known member
When I first saw the tracklist, I did not recognize any of the songs (although I'm not from a culture where Christmas is widely celebrated but I am familiar with a lot from Christmas albums that singers release). I thought it's an album full of original Christmas songs (which I could easily see them doing!). So I find the choice of tracklist really interested, and I'm looking forward to listening to it to see what kind of songs are these.

The cover art is also very Pistol Annies-like. I would have expected nothing else from a Christmas album by them. I love the darker tones.
 

Farawayhills

Well-known member
"Snow Globe", the advance single, is out on You Tube and should be available on all main streaming services. (Interestingly the full rights are held by their own company and only licenced to Sony for distribution). There doesn't seem to be a music video as such yet, only an interpretation with abstract visual designs.

The song is written by the three Annies. Dan Dugmore (the veteran session player whom we probably know best from Carrie's albums) and Frank Rische (formerly from the family band Jypsi, and now often performing with his sister Lily Mae) play electric guitar. Robert Crowell (who, I think, is the former member of Deer Tick) plays keyboards and saxaphone. Anna Lise Liddell (daughter of Frank Liddelll and Lee Ann Womack) provides some of the clapping choruses, along with her father.

Rische and Crowell are both known for working on the Alternative wing, and that is where the music on this track leans. Anyone expecting either a conventional holiday jingle, or a traditional Country feel ,may be disappointed. This would probably only be seen as Country at the far end of Alternative Country Rock - and might be thought of as genre-free. Miranda, of course, and producer Frank Liddell are known for experimentation in this field - but it may be less traditional than some fans of Ashley's or Angaleena's earlier work might expect.

The singing and the lyrics strike me as deceptively simple, but the message in the song as deserving of closer examination. I see the snow globe as a metaphor for someone seeing the cosy and comforting image of the conventional holiday spirit as something they don't feel fully a part of, and which they can't just fall into the mood of losing themselves in - tempting though that might seem.

I take lines like -
"If I could put us in a snow globe
then maybe we could let it go"
and
"We wouldn't have to wait around for the magic to finally happen"
- to imply that they can't just forget the problems around them and pretend that everything is already better, and just settle for a imaginary tinsel world.
In that sense, I see the song as conveying a theme of alienation and unfulfilled hopes, with a note of caution about the over-glossed holiday mood.
 

lizcarlo

Active member
243856312_429619691859534_36983153869341172_n.jpg
 

Farawayhills

Well-known member
Thank you!
(I'm sorry my posts have been much fewer lately. I am looking after an elderly relative, who recently turned 100. She had her birthday card from the Queen, and my friends and I did our best to give her a little party, as far as the conditions today made possible - but she is very confused nowadays and needs a lot of help)
 

Momin

Well-known member
I remember you mentioning that. What a milestone! Congratulations on her birthday! I hope you have been keeping well amongst keeping busy, and we're always here for support.
 

rcramer

Well-known member
Thank you!
(I'm sorry my posts have been much fewer lately. I am looking after an elderly relative, who recently turned 100. She had her birthday card from the Queen, and my friends and I did our best to give her a little party, as far as the conditions today made possible - but she is very confused nowadays and needs a lot of help)
Happy Birthday to her.... Best wishes on her centarian day..
 
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