Have you ever had a dream so vivid that you have trouble determining what part was in your brain and what part, if any, was real? I had that type of dream the other night. In my dream Miranda Lambert and I had just started a new relationship. She knew that I was married, but she didn’t care; she just wanted to be my girlfriend. It was intense and seemed so real. I could feel her, smell her, taste her. Needless to say I was a little sad when I woke up.
Imagine my surprise when I saw this album in the used vinyl bin just a couple days after my dream. I have previously written about them on this blog; I am a fan.
Current radio-friendly country music is terrible, but “outlaw country” is a term that is thrown around a little too often to describe anything that isn’t pop country crap.
Personally, I think that outlaw country is more than just the sound; the lyrics to the songs are just as important. Real outlaw country is storytelling songs about heartbreak, drugs use, real talk about relationships, the struggle to quit drinking, or having to choose which bills to pay and which bills to float. Annie Up is outlaw country.
This album has a wonderful and traditional country sound that is a mix of Western swing, Texas red dirt, and the blues. It sounds familiar and different at the same time. While I absolutely adore Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe can break your heart and make you cry when she sings. The fact that she is not a worldwide superstar is a travesty.
Annie Up is a paradox. It is polished and raw at the same time. It sounds like a group of friends having a good time pickin’ and grinnin’ on the porch, but their supreme professional talents keep this record from sounding subpar.
My favorite track, Unhappily Married, is an eerily accurate description of what it is like to be married for a long time.