Keith Urban shows no signs of slowing down. He just celebrated his 15th No. 1 hit with current single “Little Bit of Everything,” his new album Fuse is due for release Tuesday (September 10), and he just announced his next single “We Were Us” featuring Miranda Lambert. The new song will hit radio on release day.
Radio.com recently spoke with Urban about his new album, and why he decided should Lambert share the mic with him. “We Were Us” was written by Jimmy Robbins, Nicolle Galyon and Jon Nite, and Urban said choosing Lambert to sing on the track was a no-brainer.
“I just love Miranda’s voice. I love her artistry. We did some shows together many years ago. She got up and did a song with me each night and I loved our voices together,” he said.
Urban explained that in the back of his mind, he has always hoped that he would find a song that they could duet on together. “‘We Were Us’ came along and it’s not the kind of song Miranda would normally do, but her voice is the first one I heard in my head,” he said. “I called her up and sent her the song and she loved it and came to the studio. Blake came along as well and hung out for the day. Miranda and I went in and sang the song and I’m just so happy at the way it turned out.”
“We Were Us” tells the story of two former flames looking back on their lost love. Lambert and Urban share the chorus and the nostalgia.
“Back when that song was a song/ I could sing along without thinking’ ’bout you every time it came on/ Every beat, every line, every word, every time/ When a road was a road/ I could roll on through without wishin’ that empty seat was you/ Money was gas, dreams were dust/ Love was fast and we were us,” they sing. Listen to a preview.
Willie Nelson’s To All the Girls, a collection of duets with Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and other female artists, will be released Sept. 24 by Legacy Recordings. Underwood and Nelson reprise “Always on My Mind,” his hit that spent two weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s country songs chart in 1982. He collaborates with Lambert on “She Was No Good for Me.” Although the album doesn’t place a strong emphasis on Nelson’s past hits, the tracks include “Bloody Mary Morning” with Wynonna. Other collaborations on the 18-track album feature Rosanne Cash, Sheryl Crow, Loretta Lynn, Alison Krauss, Mavis Staples, Norah Jones, Shelby Lynne, Emmylou Harris and Brandi Carlile, among others. Recorded primarily in Nashville, To All the Girls is Nelson’s second album to be released this year. Let’s Face the Music and Dance was released in April to coincide with his 80th birthday.
Miranda Lambert still isn’t done releasing singles from 2011?s Four The Record, with the current ACM Female Vocalist of the Year announcing that the colorful “All Kinds of Kinds” will serve as the disc’s fifth single. Sony’s confirmed a radio add date of June 24, and also released what must be the worst cover art of 2013 (sorry JT).
It’ll be interesting to see how receptive the conservative country fans in the honky tonks are to Miranda’s lyrics about a cross-dressing congressmen and a pharmacist who drugs her kids with Ritalin, but the final single from a hit album is always a good opportunity to take a risk. It was either gonna be this or the blurry alt-country of “Fine Tune,” which would’ve struggled to garner airplay on the same stations that sent all four of Four The Records singles into the top ten of the country music charts.
Anyway, the real issue at hand is Lambert’s fifth studio album and its mystery release date. If she were to stick to her usual schedule, it’d be out before Christmas, but “All Kinds of Kinds” makes that virtually impossible. Country songs take months to build at radio, and unless Miranda Lambert magically transforms into Rihanna overnight, there’s just not enough time in the year left for a final Four The Record single and a new lead single from her next album. She also recently told an Arizona publication that she won’t hit the studio to start recording her “fun” new album until August, so we’re guesstimating that Mrs. Shelton probably won’t come out with her Four The Record follow-up until some time next year.
In the meantime, you’ll just have to enjoy “All Kinds of Kinds” and the latest Pistal Annies album.
Miranda Lambert is having a pretty good time of it.
When “Four the Record” topped the Billboard country chart in November 2011, she became the first artist in that chart’s 47-year history to have her first four albums debut at No. 1.
She also picked up album of the year at the 2012 Academy of Country Music Awards.
At this year’s ACMs, she took home song and single of the year for “Over You,” a chart-topping ballad she co-wrote with husband Blake Shelton, while adding a fourth consecutive female vocalist of the year ACM to her list of accomplishments.
At 29, she’s pretty much as big as country singers get without overtly crossing over into pop like Taylor Swift.
And that makes Lambert kind of nervous.
“It’s a little scary,” she says, “because I’ll never know when it’s just gonna stop. And I am just afraid it’s gonna stop abruptly.”
Lambert laughs, then adds, “I’m like, ‘OK, when’s the other shoe gonna drop. This is all too good.’ Everybody has a point in their career where they kind of hit their prime, and I feel like that’s where Blake and I both are right now, and it’s really great to celebrate that together.”
It’s pointed out that she and Shelton, who stars as a mentor/judge on NBC’s “The Voice,” are something of a country-music power couple.
“We are,” Lambert says, with another laugh. “And that’s so weird because when we first met, we never would have thought that. And we didn’t get together to try to be that. But it sure is nice to not feel like one is ahead of the other. It’s really kind of equal with all the great things going on. It’s fun because it’s neat to watch each other.
“And now, when it starts to go down, we’ll be on the downhill, slowing-down slope together, which might be nice as well.”
Asked if she finds herself thinking about the downhill slope ahead when she’s making a record, Lambert answers quickly and emphatically.
“Yeah!” she says. “I mean, I freak out every time. I’m like a basket case when it’s time to make a record. I get so nervous as to ‘Is this gonna work? Is this gonna be the album that stops selling, that stops getting nominated?’ I know that I can’t live like that. I can’t do my whole career like that. But it definitely crosses my mind.”
One thing she does not do, though, Lambert says, is let those kind of thoughts define the music she records.
“I never will,” she says. “To me, playing it safe is when it will end. I have never played it safe. I don’t go into the studio going ‘I’m gonna be different’ or ‘I’m gonna do something crazy.’ I just do what I like. And if it’s not safe, well, that has to be what it is. I’m always gonna do that. If I write a song I love, I cut it. It is just that simple.
Annie up will be out tomorrow! Here are some reviews!
When the all-girl trio Pistol Annies– made up of Miranda Lambert (aka “Lone Star Annie”), Ashley Monroe (“Hippie Annie”) and Angaleena Presley (“Holler Annie”) – released their gritty 2011 debut, Hell On Heels, the collaboration was initially thought of more as a side project. Yet, given the girls’ uncanny chemistry and gift for captivating realism, it was obvious that the group was more than just a one-off. Next week on May 7, Pistol Annies return with their follow up, Annie Up, a 12-round blast signaling that these three Annies are just getting started.
It’s hard to argue that Hell On Heels wasn’t a fantastic record (just ask Neil Young and John Fogerty – both of whom are fans), however, the difference this time around is that Miranda, Ashley and Angaleena seem to be finding their identity as a true ensemble – not just three excellent songwriters getting together for a great time. Even their nicknames point to an increasing ease as they settle into their roles as part of the band. And interestingly, Annie Up itself dives into new themes with a heavy emphasis on image.
The Washington Post
“Annie Up” is a good title for the Pistol Annies’ second album. Like the gambling term it playfully puns, the title underscores that this brash trio is raising the stakes, investing more time, effort and artistic nerve into its new 12-song collection.
The gamble pays off: “Annie Up” builds on the trio’s successful debut “Hell on Heels” by taking even more risks with bold material and inventive arrangements. Mixing bawdy humour with sensitive insight, the Annies entertainingly take on real-life issues, including how Southern families quell their secrets (“Hush Hush”), how alcoholics curse themselves while pouring another drink (“Dear Sobriety”) and how women struggle with what it takes to prepare for an evening (“Being Pretty Ain’t Pretty”).
Salt Lake Tribune
And people looking for the fun country shown by the Dixie Chicks will find primarily rock-influenced production that is serious to the point of dry earnestness. The best of the three albums released on May 7 comes from the Pistol Annies, the trio of Lambert, Monroe and Angaleena Presley.
With Lambert and Monroe onboard, the bluegrass-inspired collection is nothing short of entertaining, even when the women complain non-stop about the men in their lives. With songs such as “I Feel A Sin Comin’ On,” “Dear Sobriety,” and “Unhappily Married,” the women are alternately lusty, boozy, and detail-oriented, and offer fresh perspectives on tales usually sang by country’s redneck men.
Pistol Annies know “Being Pretty Ain’t Pretty,” but are packing up their make-up, heels and outfits for the launch of their sophomore album, Annie Up. They will debut their single, “Hush Hush” on the Today Show Tuesday, May 7. “We are so excited to release the new album,” said Miranda. “It’s been like waiting for Christmas morning to come,” she laughed.
Although the stakes are higher for Annie Up, the trio has a sense of peace about their second record, which comes out May 7. “I’m not nervous about it,” said Ashley. “I have such a calm feeling. I have great faith in this record and I really think that people are going to understand it. We’re all super proud of it and ready for it to be out!”
Annie Up features 12 new tracks all written by the sassy trio of Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley. The album opens with “I Feel A Sin Comin’ On,” an old fashioned cabaret style song. “We love this song and hope people blush when they hear it,” said Ashley. “We wrote it with no instruments because none of us could play the chords,” she continued. “So we snapped our fingers while we sang it on the work tapes and when we played it for our producer, he said he wanted us to snap on the album too,” said Angaleena. “Fingers are considered an instrument so we got paid to snap our fingers,” snapped Miranda.
Pistol Annies have the ability to speak to and for their audience, especially their female fans. Those fans are bound to make a sing-along anthem out of “Girls Like Us,” a song the Annies wrote for all the women in their lives. Says Miranda, “We’re three girls with three different lives and three different points-of-view, but really, if you get a group of women in a room and you talk about problems, everybody’s gonna yell out ‘amens’ and have stories to tell.”
Their uniquely county, yet contemporary viewpoints connect them with country’s tradition of truth-telling. “But, I mean, we’re not doing anything new. Loretta Lynn did it way before we did,” said Angaleena. “We’re just doing it for our generation, bringing it back home,” said Miranda. Pistol Annies style!
It’s happy hour at the Timothy Demonbreun House, a dignified Nashville mansion with historical significance, and as Pistol Annies knock back a couple after a long media day for new album “Annie Up,” the ladies are very much enjoying each others’ company as they make a little history of their own.
Pistol Annies are made up of three maverick country singer/songwriters — Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley — at different positions on the upward trajectory of their respective career arcs. Even if the Annies are all successful as solo artists, particularly Lambert (who is clicking on all cylinders at radio, retail and headlining tours), whatever you do, don’t refer to the group as a “side project.”
“This not some kind of vanity project,” observes producer Frank Liddell. “They’re dead serious about it and they want it to succeed.”
The three united under a common bond of fierce independence, a rebellious nature, and heavyweight songwriting chops, surprising (and overwhelmingly appealing to) not only the country music “establishment,” as it were, but catching the ears of cynical music press and such artists as Neil Young, who casually tossed out in his new autobiography that the group are “writing their asses off.”
That, Mr. Young, would be correct. The Annies’ first album, 2011’s “Hell On Heels” emerged rather quietly but didn’t stay quiet long, simultaneously out alt.-ing alt.country, out roots-ing roots and out rocking country rock.
With insightful, masterfully delivered songs about love, lust, robust indulgence of a wide range of substances, and domestic dysfunction at all levels, the Annies were, and are, completely dialed into the consciousness of what a certain segment of young American adults are living today, and strikingly divergent from much of what is happening on the contemporary country scene today. Frank, insightful, sharp and totally engaging, songs like “Takin’ Pills,” “Beige,” and “Trailer For Rent” tapped into the spectrum of frustration and celebration in a manner that recalls not only the riskier work of Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, or Lucinda Williams, but also brings to mind certain commentaries by the likes of Haggard, Cash, John Prine or even Young himself.
Still, Pistol Annies’ perspective is proudly feminine. “It’s inside insight into how women’s minds work,” says Presley. “Listen and take notes, boys.”
More often than on the first record, all three Annies (and only them) are involved in writing the songs on “Annie Up,” and much like last time, each are unfiltered doses of spirit, poignancy, romance, and sharp social observation. Hanging with Pistol Annies is, as Liddell puts it, “flat-out fun,” and here we talk about the new record, their songwriting, and how their evolution as artists and people. Throughout, Pistol Annies show they don’t take themselves too seriously, as long as you don’t call it a side project.
Billboard: The first record seemed to come out of nowhere, but people are definitely paying attention now. Did you feel any pressure to equal or top the last record?
Angaleena Presley: If the songs wouldn’t have come on their own, the way they did, then I don’t think we would be sitting here right now.
Miranda Lambert: We don’t want to force it, ever.
Angaleena: We say our A&R guy, his name’s Jesus Christ. He brought us together, and he gave us the songs, and the time to spend with each other, and the music drives what we do.