Friday, Dec. 2, 2011 | 12:31 p.m.
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Las Vegas has been a place where milestones are celebrated for country music’s all-female trio, the Pistol Annies.
Eight months ago, the band, led by Miranda Lambert, made its debut at the Academy of Country Music’s ‘Girls’ Night Out’ special at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Although the ‘Annies’ have been playing short sets during Lambert’s concerts, they will make their independent debut Saturday night at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay. Ashley Monroe — who shares duties on vocals and guitar with Lambert and Angaleena Presley — took time away from a barbecue lunch in Nashville to speak with the Sun.
What has been going through your mind in the days leading up to your debut?
We’re really, really excited. We’ve been emailing the set list back and forth, and we’re going to go up to Oklahoma for a couple of days — where Miranda lives — to run through it and rehearse a little bit. We’re just excited to do our own show more than anything.
What are you most excited about playing your first show in Vegas?
Gosh, Vegas alone is exciting. We’ve got some friends coming out, and my boyfriend will be there. We’re playing the American Country Awards, too, which will be our first awards show. Everything about Vegas is going to be exciting; it’s our first show by ourselves, our first awards show and nomination and it’s Las Vegas. Everything about it is a perfect storm, a good storm.
What can fans expect from a Pistol Annies show?
Oh, gosh. I would say to expect anything! We’ve never been super rehearsed. We just love playing music so much, we don’t want anything to be too slick or anything. Between us three, all of the stuff that will be said and sang, I would just say, ‘Hold on!’ Especially if we’re drinking.
Do you feel more comfortable as an artist when a show is more organic and less rehearsed?
I think for these shows doing it stripped down will fit better. It was great when we had Miranda’s audience and her band, but I think for this, at the House of Blues, it’s going to be a lot more intimate and we’re excited about that.
What do you have planned for the set list?
There will definitely be some surprises in there, but we’ll play most, if not all, the songs on the album.
You all come from different musical backgrounds and influences. How do those differences shape what you do as a band?
It’s really perfect because we all have some of the same influences. I’m from east Tennessee, and mine is Dolly, but I love Merle, too. Miranda is Merle and Ang is more Loretta. So we have these different styles, but when we write together, our influences all come together in our songwriting. Hopefully people see that and we do it justice.
The band has three shows on the books. Are there plans for more or is this considered a test run?
We’ll definitely be playing more shows, and we want to make another record, so we’re in for the long run. I think next year we’ll show up at some of Miranda’s shows and then we’re also going to do 10 solid Pistol Annies shows, maybe more. I think Miranda has us planned through 2013, she’s a better planner than Angaleena and me. I just hope I’ll still be living and the world will still be here, ya know?
How would you say the band has grown since the first time you played live — which was also in Vegas — for the Academy of Country Music’s special ‘Girls’ Night Out’?
It’s so funny, we realized we had never played with a band right before that show. We had just been picking up our guitars on the bus or around the campfire. Miranda was probably more nervous than all of us because it was all riding on her. We’ve been spending so much time together on the road, and that can make or break bands because it’s hard out there. Miranda and I have been friends for seven years, and we’re truly like sisters. There are plenty of things to worry about in this world, especially in the music business, but our friendships are solid.